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December 2017 California HR Regulatory Updates

Jill Schaefer /
  • Categories: HR


Top 2017 California Legislation
Here are the top California HR employment law changes that went into effect this year and what you need to know about them.

  1. Minimum Wage
    By 2022, California’s mandatory minimum hourly wage will be $15 for employers with 25+ employees. As of January 1, 2017, minimum hourly pay rose from $10 to $10.50. This amounted to an extra $20 per week for full-time employees.

Beginning in 2018, employers with 25 employees or less, also need to start paying workers $10.50 per hour.

A few cities in California have different minimum wages:

  1. Marijuana Legalization
    California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational use of marijuana. Under the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, residents can grow up to 6 plants at home for personal use. Those ages 21+ can possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana.

Legal marijuana sales begin January 1, 2018. Smoking in public or inside a vehicle, even if the user is a passenger, is prohibited.

Action Items

  • Review your employee handbooks and policies to permit the recreational use marijuana.
  • Reaffirm that even though California has legalized marijuana possession/use, it still isn’t permitted for use on the job or on company property.
  • Define how you’ll handle post-accident testing for marijuana. Traces of marijuana can be detected far longer than just after immediate use, which raises the risk of false positives.
  1. Parental Leave
    Earlier this fall, Governor Brown vetoed the New Parent Leave Bill (SB-654).It would have granted 6 weeks of unpaid leave to new parents at companies with 20+ employees.

Because the bill passed the California Senate by a large margin, there’s a good chance it will make a comeback in the future.

In the meantime, California law still provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for workers at businesses with at least 50 workers.

  1. Extra Hours for Part-time Employees
    San Jose’s Measure E took effect in March 2017. Organizations with 36 or more employees must offer more hours to part-time employees before hiring additional workers. The exception is if doing  so would result in overtime pay.

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