California Legislative Adjustments Coming in 2021

Tuesday 22nd December 2020

2020 was a year of constant change for California employers. Here are some big developments that employers can’t miss out on in 2021.

Extension of the California Family Rights Act

One of the biggest legislative changes for California employers in 2021 will be the expansion of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). Currently, employers with 50 or more employees are subject to the CFRA and its federal equivalent, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Both offer employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid vacation. With Senate Act 1383 coming into force on January 1, 2021, the CFRA will be extended to all employers with 5 or more employees.

In addition, Senate Draft 1383 expands the scope of family members for whom the employee can take vacation. CFRA currently allows employees to take unpaid leave for a number of purposes, including caring for a “family member” with a serious health condition. CFRA currently defines “family member” as including a minor child (unless the child is dependent), a spouse, or a parent. In 2021, the list of family members will be expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren or siblings. In addition, the definition of a child is expanded to include all adult children, whether or not they are dependent. Senate Bill 1383 also provides for vacation due to a qualified need related to active service or calling to active service of the spouse, civil partner, child, or parent of an employee.

To complement this expansion of the CFRA, California lawmakers added qualifying leave as a reason for receiving wage replacement benefits from the California Paid Family Vacation Program.

Independent contractor

California lawmakers passed two bills this year that amending Bill 5 of the Congregation, which sets out the requirements for a worker to be considered an independent contractor. Bill 2257 revises, clarifies and expands the exceptions under Bill 5, including exceptions for referral agencies and professional services such as photographers. Bill 323 also contains exemptions for newspaper hauliers from the requirements of Bill 5.

California voters also voted for Proposition 22, which allows people involved in app-based transportation services such as ridesharing and delivery drivers to be classified as independent contractors. Proposition 22 provides workers with minimum compensation levels, health insurance grants for skilled drivers, medical costs for workplace injuries, and prohibits drivers from working for a single company for more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period. Businesses must develop sexual harassment policies, conduct criminal background checks, and require driver safety training.

Equality and diversity in the workplace

California has passed two new laws to promote equality and diversity in the workplace. Under Bill 979, California-headquartered companies are required to diversify their boards of directors with directors from “under-represented communities” by December 21, 2021. The new law defines a director from an underrepresented community as “a person who identifies himself or herself as black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific, Indian, Hawaiian, or Native Alaska, or who identifies himself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. “

Bill 973 creates wage obligations for employers in order to promote and ensure equal pay for women and minorities. The law requires that employers who meet certain employee thresholds and submit an annual employer information report (EEO-1) under federal law must submit an annual report to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The annual report to the DFEH contains the number of employees (and hours worked): (1) by race, ethnicity and gender; (2) in each of the employment categories in the EEO-1 federal report; (3) whose annual earnings fall within each of the wage bands used by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Employment Statistics survey.

Jackson Lewis PC © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 357

Comments are closed.