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New Employment Laws for 2021

by | Feb 2, 2021 | Wrongful Termination |

The California Legislature has been busy enacting new laws to protect employees. Some of the more important new employment laws are listed below:

Contingent Workforce – Independent Contractors AB 323
Extends for one year (until January 1, 2022) the exception from the ABC test for newspaper carriers.

COVID-19 Notification AB 685
Allows the state to track COVID-19 cases in the workplace more closely.  Expands Cal/OSHA’s authority to issue Stop Work Orders for workplaces that pose a risk of an “imminent hazard” relating to COVID-19.  Requires notice in the event of a COVID-19 exposure in the workplace, including providing written notice to “all employees” who were at the worksite within the infectious period who may have been exposed to the virus.

Corporate Boards – Diversity AB 979
Requires that a publicly traded corporation with a principal executive office in California appoint members of underrepresented communities to the Board of Directors.

Privacy AB 1281
Grants another one-year extension (until January 1, 2022) of the exclusion of certain Human Resources data from coverage under the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Security Guards – Rest Breaks AB 1512
Allows employers to require that security guards covered by collective bargaining agreements, and paid at least one dollar more than minimum wage, remain on premises and on call during rest breaks.

Unemployment – Work Sharing AB 1731
Automates parts of California’s work sharing program.

Whistleblowing AB 1864
Prohibits adverse action against employees who have filed any proceeding under the Consumer Financial Protection law.

Statute of Limitations for Wage/Hour Discharge – Discrimination Complaints AB 1947
Lengthens from six months to one year the statute of limitations for bringing a claim of discriminatory discharge in violation of any law under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner; authorizes attorney’s fees for successful plaintiffs.

Human Resources – Mandated Child Abuse Reporting AB 1963
Designates Human Resources professionals who work for businesses that employ minors, and employ five or more employees, as mandated child abuse reporters.  Such persons must be given mandated reporting training, and a written statement describing their obligations. 

Protected Time Off – Kin Care AB 2017
Provides that the designation of sick leave taken for kin care shall be made at the sole discretion of the employee.

Discrimination and Harassment AB 2143
Clarifies when a no-rehire provision in a settlement agreement regarding harassment, sexual assault, or criminal conduct is permitted; requires certain employer documentation.

Public Works AB 2231

Lowers threshold for qualifying as a public works project for purposes of the minimum wage.

Family Temporary Disability Insurance AB 2399
Expands Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI) program to include absences due to military service of family member.

Petroleum Facility Safety – Sensitive Employees – Rest Breaks AB 2479
Allows employer to require that employees in safety-sensitive positions at petroleum facilities covered by collective bargaining agreements, and paid at least 30% more than the state minimum wage, remain on premises and on call during rest breaks.

Acute Care Hospital – PPE Supplies AB 2537
Requires acute care hospitals to supply PPE to employees who provide direct patient care, and ensure that employees use PPE.  Beginning April 1, 2021, acute care hospitals must maintain a three-month supply of PPE, and provide an inventory of PPE to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health upon request.

Health Care Worker Training AB 2588
Requires acute care hospitals to reimburse certain training expenses of employees and job applicants.

Protected Time Off – Crime Victims AB 2992
Expands leave for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking to include leave for the victim of any crime that caused physical injury or mental injury with a threat of physical injury.

Report of Wage and Hour Violations AB 3075
Requires that corporations register with the state information regarding violations of the wage orders or Labor Code.

Employment Taxes AB 3372

Permits any notice or document required to terminate, modify, or release an earnings withholding order for taxes to be served by electronic transmission.

Pay Data Reporting SB 973
Requires businesses to report to DFEH pay data for various categories of employees.

CFRA Expansion SB 1383
Expands California Family Rights Act (CFRA) coverage to employers of five or more employees. Expands categories of family members covered by CFRA leaves.

Representation of Financially Disabled Persons in Arbitration SB 1384
Labor Commissioner will represent financially disabled persons when wage claims are referred to arbitration.

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