California Employment Laws Taking Effect 2018

As the 2017 California legislative session ended for the year, Governor Brown signed into law new legislations that are to affect California employment laws. Because of this, employers in California need to be aware of these new regulations being put in place. The new employment laws cover multiple areas such as salary history, parental leave for small employers, and changes to hiring practices/enforcement.

Starting January 1st 2018, these new labor laws will come to effect. Let’s explore some of these new regulations in a bit more detail so you can remain ahead of the curve as you begin to plan for their proper implementation in the workplace.

Ban-the-Box Law

The ban-the-box-law applies to job applicants and their criminal history. It is basically aimed at preventing employers from asking about history of convictions from job applicants before a conditional offer of employment is made. The law states that employers who have 5 or more employees shall not inquire about criminal history information from applications, and shall not inquire or consider criminal history before a conditional offer of employment is actually made.

The law also bans employers from distributing or disseminating information that pertains to conviction history and background checks of candidates being considered for employment.

There are a few exceptions to this law that apply mainly to positions within criminal justice agencies as well as state, federal and local laws. As a result, positions in federal and state governments that require criminal background checks are exempted from this law.

No More Salary History Questions

Over the past few years, salary history questions were regularly asked by California employers as part of their framework for making hiring decisions. However, the new law (AB168 and Labor code 432.3) prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s previous salary, benefits or compensation. If the applicant voluntarily discloses their prior salary as part of the application/interview process, the employer can consider that information when making a hiring decision.

The law also requires employers to provide to the applicant a pay scale for the position in question. California will become the first state in the country to enact such a provision.

Parental Leave for Small Employers

Small employers are now required to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to their employees for the purpose of child bonding. Businesses with at least 20 employees who work within a 75-mile radius are now required to make provisions for parental leave. These provisions should provide for a leave period for employees who need to bond with a new child within one year of their birth, adoption or placement in foster care.

For employees to be eligible for this leave, they must have accumulated 12 months of service, and a minimum of 1250 hours of service within the 12-month period preceding the leave. The employer must provide a guarantee that the employee’s position will be reinstated once they return from leave.

Worksite Immigration Enforcement and Protections

Immigrant workers in their place of employment now enjoy various protections against their eligibility in the workplace. Under the immigrant worker protection act, immigrant workers are protected from immigration enforcement while on the job. Violating these laws can subject the employer to fines of between $2000-$10,000.

Employers are also prevented from re-verifying employment eligibility of current employees at a time/manner that is not allowed by the federal government verification laws.

To remain aware of these new provisions, check out the full list of laws provided by the California Chamber of Commerce that are set to take place.

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