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October 2017 California HR Regulatory Updates

Jill Schaefer /
  • Categories: HR


City of Berkeley Has New Minimum Wage
As part of Berkeley’s phased goal of raising the city’s minimum wage to $15/hour by October 2018, the next $13.75/hour rate tier went into effect on October 1, 2017.

City of Berkeley employers must display an updated Minimum Wage/Paid Sick Leave Poster.

Additional Resource
City of Berkeley Minimum Wage Ordinance


Berkeley’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Now in Effect
On October 1, 2017, employers with locations in Berkeley, CA must comply with the city’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. Even though another paid-sick leave measure will be on November’s ballot, this ordinance will be enforced until voters decide otherwise.


  • Covers employees who complete at least 2 hours of work/week within Berkeley’s geographic boundaries and are eligible for California’s minimum wage or who participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program.
  • If employers have an existing paid leave policy that meets the city’s ordinance requirements, no additional paid sick leave is necessary.
  • Employees who haven’t previously accrued paid sick leave must begin to accrue it on October 1, 2017 or when employment begins, whichever is later.
  • Covered employees accrue 1 paid-sick-leave hour for every 30 hours worked, which accrues in whole-hour units not in fractions. For small businesses, the paid sick leave cap is 48 hours/year. For all other businesses, the cap is 72 hours.
  • Paid sick leave can be used 90 days after employment begins.
  • Approved uses of the paid sick leave include: pregnancy, physical or mental illness, injury, or a medical condition; obtaining professional diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition.
  • Leave can be used for an employee’s condition or to care for a family member (child, parent, legal guardian, ward, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, spouse, or registered domestic partner).
  • Leave can’t be eave cannot be used for reasons related to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
  • If employees can predict their leave, they are expected to provide advance reasonable notice. If that isn’t possible, they need to inform their employers as soon as possible.
  • Employers are permitted to employers to take reasonable measures to verify or document that leave was used for a permitted purpose.
  • Sick leave is to be paid at the employee’s hourly wage. Employees are to receive sick leave payment no later than the next designated payroll period and payday after the leave was taken.
  • City of Berkeley employers must display an updated Minimum Wage/Paid Sick Leave Poster.

Additional Resources


Top 2017 California Legislation So Far
Well, the year’s not over yet, but 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:

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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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