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New Employment Laws in California in Effect for 2015


New Employment Laws in California in Effect for 2015Update Your Employment Policies, Handbook and Train Managers

California has several new employment laws coming into effect in 2015, so it’s imperative that employers in the Golden State are familiar with these laws and amendments so they don’t find themselves in violation. Here are just a few of the significant laws of which you should be aware:

  • As of July 1, 2015, many California employers will be required to provide Paid Sick Leave. The new law, California’s Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014, requires most employers to allow employees to accrue up to three days of paid sick leave per year based on an accrual of at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The law applies to all employers that have at least one employee who works more than 30 days in a year in the state of California.  All employees who work more than 30 days in a year in California are covered (including part-time and temporary employees), except for employees covered by certain collective bargaining agreements, certain providers of in-home support services and certain airline industry employees. Notice, posting and other requirements of the law are effective as of January 1, 2015.

With the deadline fast approaching, employers with employees working in California should carefully review their sick and paid time off (PTO) policies, as well as payroll policies for reporting such time on wage statements. Every employer also should review its new-hire procedures and notices, and workplace posting and recordkeeping policies, because the new sick leave law affects each of these items.

  • Businesses will be required to automatically share liability with a “labor contractor,” such as a temporary staffing agency, if the agency fails to pay wages or provide workers’ compensation insurance to its employees who are assigned to work at the business.
  • Effective January 1, 2015, discrimination and harassment protections are expanded under the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include an unpaid internship or any other program that provides unpaid experience for a person in the workplace or industry.
  • Mandatory sexual harassment training for employers with at least 50 employees must include information on abusive conduct. “Abusive conduct” is defined as “conduct of an employer or employee in the workplace, with malice, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to an employer’s legitimate business interests. Abusive conduct may include repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets, verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating, or the gratuitous sabotage or undermining of a person’s work performance. A single act shall not constitute abusive conduct, unless especially severe and egregious.”
  • Mandatory arbitration agreements are prohibited from including claims for violations of certain civil code sections dealing with violence or threats of violence based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation or political affiliation.

As an employer in California to properly protect yourself, be sure your personnel policies and handbooks are updated.  Also, ensure that managers are trained to understand that certain issues, such as requests to accommodate a disability, leave requests, deciding who’s exempt from overtime requirements, etc., be handled by an individual with specialized knowledge.

In addition, make sure you have a robust Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) policy in place to protect your organization when it comes to workplace-related allegations of discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination and other issues. Our professionals at Axis Insurance Services would be happy to review your current insurance policy and provide you with a proposal. We specialize in EPLI and other essential management liability insurance coverages. Give us a call at (877) 787-5258. 

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Blogged on: December 12, 2014 by Mike Smith
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