JANUARY 2016 – NEW YEAR – NEW EMPLOYMENT LAWS

Erica Sorosky, a Partner in the Business Litigation Group, outlines just some of the more relevant new and amended legislation for 2016:

SB 358: Equal Pay Act

  • Employers are prohibited from paying employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of the opposite sex for "substantially similar work," which is now to be determined based on a "composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions."
  • Wage differentials may be justified where based on: (i) seniority system; (ii) merit system; (iii) system that measures earnings based on quality or quantity of production; or (iv) bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training or experience.
  • "Freedom of Speech" re Wages - employers may not prohibit employees from: disclosing their own wages, discussing the wages of others, or inquiring about wages of another employee.

AB 1513: Pay for Rest and Recovery Periods for Piece-Rate Workers

  • Piece rate employees must be compensated for rest and recovery periods and "nonproductive time" (if not compensated on an hourly basis in addition to piece-rate). This information must be included on wage statements.

AB 987: New Claim for Retaliation Based on Reasonable Accommodation

  • Amends the Fair Employment and Housing Act to provide that requesting a reasonable accommodation on the basis of religion or disability is a protected activity. Employees can now claim retaliation because they requested an accommodation regardless of whether the accommodation is granted.

AB 1509: New Prohibition Against Retaliation Against Family Member of Claimant

  • Expands the retaliation protection under Labor Code section 98.6. Now, an employer is prohibited from retaliating against family members of an employee who has complained of unpaid wages or other Labor Code violations.

SB 579: Family School Partnership Act and Kin Care Amendment

  • Under FSPA, employers with 25 or more employees are required to provide 40 hours per year to parents to participate in "school activities."

 AB 304: Paid Sick Leave Amendment

  • Employers are now allowed to use alternative accrual methods for leave so long as they meet the law's minimum standards.
  • Guidelines provided on how to calculate rate of pay for leave: (i) exempt - same as method used to calculate pay for other forms of paid leave; (ii) non-exempt - either regular rate of pay for workweek or total wages (less overtime) divided by total hours worked in full pay periods during prior 90 days.

AB 1506: PAGA (Private Attorney General Act) Cure Rights

  • Requires employee to give notice and an opportunity to fix wage statements that fail to include the inclusive dates for the period for which the employee was paid, and/or do not show the correct name or address of the employer.

SB 588: Labor Commissioner's Enforcement of Judgments

  • This makes owners, directors, officers and managing agents of employer personally liable for wage violations. It authorizes the Labor Commissioner to file a lien or levy on employer's property or impose "stop order" on business to enforce judgment for unpaid wages, other compensation, penalties, and interest owed to an employee.

SB 501: Wage Garnishment Limitations (takes effect July 1, 2016)

  • Reduces the amount of a judgment debtor's weekly earnings subject to levy from exceeding the lesser of: 25% of the individual's weekly disposable earnings, or 50% of the amount by which the individual's disposable earnings for the week exceed 40 times the state minimum hourly wage.

Minimum Wage Increase

  • California's Minimum Wage increased to $10 per hour beginning January 1, 2016.
  • Minimum salary for white collar exemptions is now $41,600.
  • Inside salespersons must earn at least $15.01 per hour to be eligible for overtime exemption.

Erica Sorosky, can be reached at (949) 851-7271; esorosky@ptwww.com

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