The beginning of a new year is always marked by new legislation, and with the global pandemic there are a significant number of new laws that will impact California businesses. We reached out to labor and employment Attorney, Patrice Nagle, of Fisher Phillips LLP to highlight the most important laws that every employer should know.
As with everything “2020,” last year’s California legislative session was one for the books. Not only did the Legislature completely shut down on two separate occasions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the last few days of the session featured almost all the Republican contingent of the Senate quarantined and debating and voting on legislation remotely via video feed. Bizarre to say the least.
However, that didn’t stop the Legislature (and other agencies) from passing some significant labor and employment legislation/regulations. Here’s a quick rundown of the top seven (of many) new laws/guidance California employers need to keep front of mind in 2021:
Cal/OSHA & AB 685 – Employer COVID-19
Reporting Obligations Cal/OSHA’s new emergency standard is related to COVID-19 and imposes significant requirements on California employers. Most notably, the new standard requires that employees excluded from work for having or being exposed to COVID-19 must continue to be paid while they are off work. Employers must have all required notices and understand OSHA’s prescribed timelines to avoid civil penalties. AB 685, effective on January 1, 2021, mandates additional, more stringent notice requirements.
AB 1867 – Supplemental COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave
Effective now, all private employers with 500 or more employees must provide COVID- 19 supplemental paid sick leave to their California employees, with limited exceptions.
SB 1159 – COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption
Effective now, SB 1159 creates a new rebuttable presumption for COVID-19 cases occurring on or after July 6, 2020, but only where the employer had an “outbreak.” An outbreak is: (1) 4 positive cases in 14 days for employers of 100 or less; (2) 4% of employees if the employer has over 100 employees; or (3) closure by public health authorities. SB 1159 also imposes a new 3-day reporting requirement when an employee tests positive.
SB 1383 – Expansion of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
The California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) entitles an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during a 12-month period for specified family care and personal medical reasons. Effective January 1, 2020, SB 1383 expands the coverage and scope of CFRA to include all employers with 5 or more employees.
SB 973 – Pay Data Reporting
Employers that have 100 or more employees and are required to file an EEO-1 must provide pay data to the State. Pay data reports will be due on March 31, starting in 2021.
Proposition 24 – Extension of the CCPA Exemption for Employee Data
The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) grants a comprehensive set of rights to consumers with regards to their personal information. Proposition 24 amends and expands the CCPA. Specifically, Proposition 24 changes which businesses need to comply with the CCPA and extends the limited exemption for data from employee/job applicants and in the Business to Business context.
AB 2257 – More Changes to AB 5 and the “ABC Test”
Last year, the governor signed AB 5 into law, codifying the California Supreme Court decision in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court (2018), which adopted the so-called “ABC test” for determining who can be classified as an independent contractor. AB 2257 retains the ABC test but introduces modifications to some of the current exceptions and adds new exceptions to the ABC test. AB 2257 took effect on September 4, 2020.
Come join me (virtually) on January 22, 2021 @ 11:30 a.m. – 1p.m. for an in-depth discussion of these (and other new laws) facing California employers. Click here to sign up.