November 2021: West Hollywood California to Implement Citywide Minimum Wage and New Paid and Unpaid Leave Requirements

Update Applicable to:
All employers in West Hollywood, California.

What happened?
On November 15, 2021, the city council of West Hollywood passed Ordinance No. 21-1168 that implemented an increase in the minimum wage and new leave requirements for employees in the city.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in West Hollywood will be increasing twice a year until July 1, 2023.

Below is a table showing what the wage increases will look like until July 1, 2023.

1/1/20227/1/20221/1/20237/1/2023
Hotel Employers$17.64$18.31*No change$18.77*
Employers with 50 Employees or more$15.50$16.50$17.50$18.77*
Employers with Less than 50 Employees$15.00$16.00$17.00$18.77*
*This is an estimate. The actual wage will be determined by the cost-of-living adjustment for that year.

For paid leave, the ordinance requires a hybrid leave that both full and part-time employees are provided paid time off for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Employees must be eligible to use accrued paid time off after the first six months of employment or consistent with company policies, whichever is sooner.

Full-time employees, defined as working at least 40 hours a week or as defined by the employer, shall be provided 96 compensated hours.  Full-time employees shall accrue at least 96 compensated time off hours per year.

A part-time employee, defined as an employee who works less than 40 hours per week, shall accrue compensated time off in increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week.

After the employee reaches the maximum accrued time off, the employer shall provide a cash payment once every 30 days for accrued compensated time off over the maximum. An employer may give an employee the option of cashing out any portion of the accrued compensated time off under the maximum, but the employer may not require the employee to cash out any accrued time off.

For unpaid leave, the new ordinance requires employers must permit full-time employees to take at least 90 additional hours per year of uncompensated time to be used for sick leave for the illness of the employee, or a member of the employee’s immediate family, when the employee has exhausted their compensated time off for the year.


For more information, please see the links below:

Ordinance No. 21-1168

Summary

Council Meeting

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What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the links provided above and prepare to make changes to their payroll system to abide by the city’s new law.

November 2021: California Passes “Silenced No More Act”

Update Applicable to:

All employers in California.

What happened?

On October 7, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 331 (SB-331) that builds on previous legislation, Senate Bill 820 (SB-820).

What are the details?

Effective January 1, 2022, Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) are now prohibited for all alleged claims of workplace harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, including those based on race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.

SB-311 makes several other key changes as well:

  1. Right to Consult an Attorney: An employer offering a current or former employee a settlement agreement related to the employee’s employment shall notify the employee that the employee has a right to consult an attorney.

  2. Five-Day Period to Consider Agreement: An employer must provide the employee five business days to consider the agreement, though an employee may sign the agreement prior to the end of this time period, as long as the employee’s decision to accept such shortening of time is “knowing and voluntary and is not induced by the employer through fraud, misrepresentation, or a threat to withdraw or alter the offer prior to the expiration of the reasonable time period, or by providing different terms to employees who sign such an agreement prior to the expiration of such time period.”

  3. Non-Disparagement Provisions: Employers may continue to use non-disparagement provisions as a condition of employment or in settlement agreements. However, a non-disparagement provision that restricts an employee’s ability to disclose information related to conditions in the workplace must include the following language: “Nothing in this agreement prevents you from discussing or disclosing information about unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination or any other conduct that you have reason to believe is unlawful.”

  4. Exemptions: SB-331 does not apply where a “negotiated settlement agreement” that resolves an underlying claim that has been filed by an employee in court, before an administrative agency, in an alternative dispute resolution forum, or through an employer’s internal complaint process, provided that “the employee is given notice and opportunity to retain an attorney or is represented by an attorney.” Thus, there are still instances where employers can utilize NDAs in settlement agreements.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill No. 331

Senate Bill No. 820

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What do employers need to do?

Employers should update their employment settlement agreement forms to comply with the new law.

November 2021: California Releases Fair Chance Toolkit

Update Applicable to:

All employers in California.

What happened?

On October 20, 2021, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced new efforts to identify and correct violations of the Fair Chance Act. 

What are the details?

On October 22, 2022, the DFEH released a new Fair Chance Toolkit that includes sample forms and guides that will assist employers with compliance with the Fair Chance Act.

For more information, please see the links below:

DFEH Press Release

Fair Chance Toolkit

Article

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the toolkit and other information provided by the DFEH as well as their current hiring policies to comply with the law.

November 2021: California Passes Legislation on Automatic Subscriptions

Update Applicable to:

All companies that provide automatic subscriptions in California.

What happened?

On October 4, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill No. 390 (AB 390), which adds new renewal reminder notice requirements and cancellation requirements to the Automatic Renewal Law (ARL).

What are the details?

These new requirements will be effective on July 1, 2022:

  • Most businesses selling automatic renewal plans to California consumers with an initial term of one year or longer will need to deliver notices to their California subscribers 15 to 45 days before the renewal date reminding them that their plans will automatically renew unless canceled.

  • Businesses selling automatic renewal plans to California consumers with a free trial, gift, or initial discount period lasting longer than 31 days will need to provide similar notices to their California subscribers three to 21 days before the expiration of the applicable period.


Online sellers of automatic renewal plans will have to offer subscribers the ability to cancel automatic renewal features online “immediately” (after account authentication) by clicking on a button or link, or by sending a pre-formatted termination email message.

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill No. 390
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What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the information above and prepare to make changes to their subscription and reminder system to comply with the additional rules.

October 2021 California HR Legal Updates

California Employer’s Record Retention Expanded

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On September 23, 2021, Governor Newsom signed SB 807 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2022, expands the current record retention requirements for California employers and how the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) enforces California’s civil rights laws. The record retention period has been extended to four years from the date the records were created or the date the employment action was taken.

In addition, SB 807 extends the period in which an individual can file a civil action for violations of specific statutes by tolling that period while the DFEH investigates and/or takes action on a complaint.

After the filing of any employment discrimination complaints that would be treated by the DFEH as a class or group complaint, the DFEH will have 2 years to complete its investigation and issue a right-to-sue notice.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law can be found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their record retention policies to make any updates in time for when the law is active on January 1, 2022.

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California Imposes Significant New Restrictions on Severance and Settlement Agreements

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On October 7, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 331 (SB 331) into law to impose new restrictions on severance and settlement agreements.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2022, the following key provisions from SB 331 will be required during a severance or settlement agreement:

  • Time to consider the agreement
  • Right to consult an attorney
  • Disclosure of FEHA claims
  • Disclosure of unlawful workplace acts
  • Non-disparagement provisions
  • Other provisions (general release or waiver of all claims, prohibit disclosure of trade secrets and information, and require the amount of severance to be paid to remain confidential)


For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 331

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above, revise their severance and settlement agreement templates, and prepare for the upcoming change taking effect on January 1, 2022.

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California Passes Law on Job Performance Quotas for Large Warehouse Facilities

Update Applicable to:
Employers with warehouse distribution centers and storage centers in California.

What happened?
On September 22, 2021, Governor Newsom signed AB 701 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2022, requires employers with large warehouse distributions centers to disclose quotas and pace-of-work standards to each employee upon hire or within 30 days of the law going into effect. The law applies to employers that employ or exercise control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of 100 or more employees at a single warehouse distribution center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more distribution warehouse centers in California. The law clarifies warehouse distribution centers covered by this law with NAICS Codes the following NAICS Codes are included in the covered establishments:

The new law also provides that employees are not required to meet quotas that prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, use of bathroom facilities, or occupational health and safety laws. If a current or former employee believes that a quota has caused a violation of such laws, the employee may request, and the employer must provide, a written description of each quota applicable to the employee and a copy of the most recent or last 90 days of the employee’s own personal work speed data. A former employee is limited to one request. Additionally, the law presumes retaliation if employers take adverse action against employees who, have taken the actions described in the Law in the previous 90 days.

The law can be read here.

Articles discussing the new law are found here and here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their current policies and processes for quotas to make any changes to stay in compliance with the law. The law firm Fisher & Phillips LLP recommends employers evaluate current quotas, create and produce written quotas for each employee, create a process for data requests, and pause before taking adverse actions.

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California Bill Allows Required Notices and Postings to be Emailed to Employees

Update Applicable to:
All employers in California.

What happened?
On July 16, 2021, Governor Newson signed SB 657 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective January 1, 2022, makes a change to assist employers that have remote workers. The law allows that in any instance in which an employer is required to physically post information, an employer may also distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. This does not remove an employer’s obligation to physically display postings.

The law can be found here.

An article on the law can be read here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the law and their posting/notice policies to prepare and make any required updates for the new allowance the law provides by January 1, 2022.


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Los Angeles County Issues Public Health Order Requiring COVID-19 Vaccine Verification or Proof of Negative Results

Update Applicable to:
All employers of hospitality businesses in Los Angeles County.

What happened?
On October 7, 2021, Los Angeles County issued a new public health order that would affect operators of hospitality businesses.

What are the details?
Effective as of October 7, 2021, Los Angeles County is requiring that operators of hospitality businesses must verify COVID-19 vaccination or proof of negative test results from customers/attendees per new public health Order.

This order will influence operators of:

  • Outdoor mega-events (a mega event is defined as 1,000 indoor or 10,000 outdoor attendees)
  • Bars, wineries, distilleries, nightclubs, and lounges for indoor services
  • Restaurants and food facilities

For more information, please see the  links below:

Public Health Order

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the above links and review their COVID-19 safety protocols.

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California Passes New Legislation that Prevents Food Delivery Platforms from Retaining Amounts Designated as Tips of Gratuity

Update Applicable to:
All food delivery service employers in California.

What happened?
On October 5, 2021, Governor Newsom passed Assembly Bill No. 286 (AB 286), which amends the Fair Food Delivery Act of 2020 and adds more regulations on online food delivery services.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2022, food delivery businesses will not be allowed to retain any portion of amounts designated as a tip or gratuity. Food delivery platforms will be required to pay any tip or gratuity for a delivery order, in its entirety, to the person delivering the food or beverage and to pay any tip or gratuity for a pickup order, in its entirety, to the food facility.
 
The bill also requires food delivery platforms to disclose to the customer and food facility a cost breakdown of each transaction.
 
The cost breakdown must include:

  1. The purchase price of the food and beverage
  2. A notice that the food delivery platform charges a fee, commission, or cost to the food facility; unless the facility directs the delivery platform to disclose to customers the delivery fee charged to the facility and each fee, commission, or cost charged to the facility.
  3. Each fee, commission, or cost charged to the customer by the delivery platform
  4. Any tip or gratuity

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill 286

Fair Food Delivery Act of 2020

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and prepare to adjust their overall charging fees to stay in compliance with the new law effective January 1, 2022.

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California Passes Garment Worker Protection Act

Update Applicable to:
All garment industry employers in California.

What happened?
On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 62 (SB 62) to protect garment workers from abusive labor practices.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2022, California requires that employers can no longer pay employees “engaged in the performance of garment manufacturing” by piece rate.
 
Moreover, “garment manufacturing” now includes “sewing, cutting, making, processing, repairing, finishing, assembling, dyeing, altering a garment’s design, causing another person to alter a garment’s design, affixing a label to a garment, or otherwise preparing any garment or any article of wearing apparel or accessories designed or intended to be worn by any individual.” 

Although employers can still pay garment workers incentive-based bonuses (which should be included when calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay), employers must now pay garment workers at an hourly rate that is not less than the applicable minimum wage.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill No. 62

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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and prepare to make changes to their payroll system to stay in compliance with the upcoming law change.

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California Implements New Restrictions on Severance Agreements, Non-Disparagement and Confidentiality Agreements

Update Applicable to:

All employers in California.

What happened?
On October 7, 2021, Governor Newsom enacted Senate Bill 331 (SB 331).

What are the details?

The bill, effective January 1, 2022, enacts additional restrictions on employers offering severance agreements and settling claims alleging harassment, discrimination, or retaliation based on purported violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The new law creates an unlawful employment practice against employers that prevent disclosing of information about unlawful acts of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation in the workplace in severance agreements, rendering such agreements unenforceable and against California’s public policy. 

Further, non-disparagement agreements must, effective 2022, include language relating to the employee’s right to disclose information about unlawful acts in the workplace substantially similar to: “Nothing in this agreement prevents you from discussing or disclosing information about unlawful acts in the workplace, such as harassment or discrimination or any other conduct that you have reason to believe is unlawful.”

For more information, please see the links below:

SB 331
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What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the new bill and its applicable policies to make the required changes to stay in compliance with the law by January 1, 2022.


October 2021: Cal/OSHA Slightly Relax Their ETS Self-Quarantine Requirements for Asymptomatic, Unvaccinated Workers

Update Applicable to:

All employers in California.

What happened?

On September 21, 2021, Cal/OSHA updated their frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the emergency temporary standards (ETS) to incorporate new guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) that will relax self-quarantine requirements for asymptomatic, unvaccinated workers.

What are the details?

The guidance from the CDPH, announced September 9, 2021, was incorporated into the Cal/OSHA ETS frequently asked questions (FAQ) on September 21, 2021, and provides information on a shorter quarantine option for asymptomatic unvaccinated employees. The CDPH recommends unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with COVID-19 and show no symptoms may discontinue their self-quarantine under the following conditions:

  • Quarantine can end after day ten from the date of last exposure without testing, or
  • Quarantine can end after day seven if a diagnostic specimen is collected on day five or later from the date of exposure and the test is negative.

In addition to the conditions above, during the 14 days after exposure, those who were in close contact should continue monitoring their symptoms, wear a mask when around others, wash their hands, avoid groups, and stay at least six feet from others. If the person develops symptoms within 14 days of exposure, they should self-isolate immediately and get tested.

For more information, please see the links below:

Cal/OSHA FAQs

Updated CDPH Guidance

Self-Quarantine Instructions

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What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the links above and make any applicable changes to their COVID-19 and quarantine policies.


October 2021: Los Angeles Approves Vaccine Mandate for Public Places

Update Applicable to:

California employers in the establishments of food and beverage, gyms and fitness, entertainment and recreation, and personal care.

What happened?

On October 6, 2021, Mayor Garcetti signed an ordinance approved by the Los Angeles City Council that will require many businesses to have patrons show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

What are the details?

The ordinance, effective November 6, 2021, will require businesses to prevent patrons from entering many indoor areas unless the individuals show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, along with their photo ID. The ordinance also requires patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before entering outdoor events with 5,000-9,999 attendees. Businesses are required to post information about the mandate by October 21, 2021, and implement the requirements by November 4, 2021.

The ordinance requires four categories of establishments to enforce a vaccine mandate indoors: food and beverage, gyms and fitness, entertainment and recreation, and personal care. The ordinance lists examples for each category that can be read here.

For patrons who obtain an exemption on medical or religious grounds, the ordinance limits them to only outdoor areas. These exempt patrons may enter indoor areas only if: (1) outdoor areas are unavailable, and (2) they provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to entry of a covered location and photo ID.

For more information, please see the links below:

Ordinance

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What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the ordinance and its new requirements and their current COVID-19 policies to make updates to stay in compliance with the new law.

October 2021: California’s COVID-19 Employer Reporting Requirements Updated

Update Applicable to:

California employers in the fields below.

What happened?

On October 5, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 654 (AB 654) into law.

What are the details?

The AB 654 law, effective immediately, expands the types of employers who are exempt from COVID-19 outbreak reporting requirements and clarifies the timeframe for employer notification of cases to public health agencies and the definition of worksite for covered exposures.

Specifically, under AB 654, employers, such as community clinics, adult day health centers, community care facilities, and child daycare facilities, are exempt from COVID-19 outbreak reporting. The Law revises the requirement that employers provide information on COVID-19 employee-related benefits to only apply to employees who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period.

Additionally, the bill also revises the notification requirement regarding the cleaning and disinfection plan the employer is implementing to only apply to employees who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period, and the employers of subcontracted employees who were on the premises at the same worksite as the qualifying individual within the infectious period.

For more information, please see the links below:

AB 654

Article

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the law as well as their COVID-19 and other applicable policies to make updates or changes to stay in compliance with the law.

October 2021: California Signs Bill to Expand PPE Stockpile, Worker Protections from Wildfire Smoke, and Classify Agricultural Workers as “Essential”

Update Applicable to:

All California agricultural employers and employers of essential workers.

What happened?

On September 27, 2021, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 73 (AB 73) that expands worker protections from wildfire smoke and establishes a stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for essential workers, along with classifying agricultural workers as “essential.”

What are the details?

The AB 73 bill, effective immediately, requires the State Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Services to establish a stockpile of PPE to address pandemics and other health emergencies.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health are also to review and update the wildfire smoke training requirements that employers must follow, such as providing training in a language and manner that is readily understandable by employees. Updates to these training requirements will be posted on the Division’s website.

In addition, AB 73 also now classifies agricultural workers as “essential workers.”

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill 73 (AB 73)

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Division of Occupational Safety and Health Website

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the bill and re-evaluate their wildfire smoke training requirements by visiting the Division of Occupational Safety and Health website frequently.

October 2021: California Issues More Expansive Health Care Worker Vaccine Mandate

Update Applicable to:

Employers in California with employees in covered health care environments.

What happened?

On September 28, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued an expansion to the vaccine mandate for health care workers.

What are the details?

The new mandate extends the date covered healthcare workers must be vaccinated to November 30, 2021, which was originally September 30, 2021. The mandate additionally includes adult care facilities and direct care workers.

The following workers are covered by the order:

  • All workers who provide services or work in adult and senior care facilities licensed by the California Department of Social Services.
  • All in-home direct care services workers, including registered home care aides and certified home health aides, except for those workers who only provide services to a recipient with whom they live or who are a family member of the recipient for whom they provide services.
  • All waiver personal care services (WPCS) providers, as defined by the California Department of Health Care Services, and in-home supportive services (IHSS) providers, as defined by the California Department of Social Services, except for those workers who only provide services to a recipient with whom they live or who are a family member of the recipient for whom they provide services.
  • All hospice workers who are providing services in the home or a licensed facility.
  • All regional center employees, as well as service provider workers, who provide services to a consumer through the network of Regional Centers serving individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities, except for those workers who only provide services to a recipient with whom they live or who are a family member of the recipient for whom they provide services.

If a worker is exempted from the vaccination requirements, either due to religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons, the worker must comply with the following requirements:

  • Test for COVID-19 with either polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or antigen test once weekly; and
  • Wear a surgical mask or higher-level respirator, such as an N95 filtering facepiece respirator, at all times while in the facility or at home.

The mandate states that employers of covered workers will be required to maintain records of workers’ vaccination or exemption status. Employers must also keep records regarding worker testing for those employees who are exempt from vaccination. These records must be kept confidential pursuant to applicable privacy laws and regulations.

For more information, please see the links below:

CDPH Mandate

Article

What do employers need to do?

Employers should review the updated CDPH mandate and their current vaccination policies to make applicable updates and stay in compliance with the new mandate’s guidelines.