Unpacking California's Employment and Labor Laws: A Comprehensive Overview
What are the regulations regarding employment and labor laws in California?
California has numerous state-specific employment and labor laws that businesses operating in the state must comply with. Some of the key regulations include:
Minimum Wage: California has its own minimum wage, which is higher than the federal rate. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in California is $15.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees, and $14.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
Overtime Pay: California has unique overtime rules, requiring 1.5 times the regular rate of pay for hours worked exceeding 8 hours in a day, 40 hours in a week, or for the first 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek. Double pay is required for work beyond 12 hours in a day or beyond 8 hours on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Meal and Rest Breaks: California requires employers to provide a 30-minute unpaid meal break for employees working more than 5 hours per day and a 10-minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked or major fraction thereof.
Paid Sick Leave: California requires employers to provide employees with a minimum of 3 days or 24 hours of paid sick leave per year.
Discrimination and Harassment Protections: The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on various characteristics and conditions, including race, religion, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, and more.
Family and Medical Leave: The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave for family and medical reasons, such as bonding with a new child, caring for a family member with a serious health condition, or recovering from a serious health condition.
Pregnancy and Parental Leave: California provides additional leave protections for pregnant employees and new parents, including Pregnancy Disability Leave (for employees disabled by pregnancy or childbirth) and paid family leave for bonding with a new child.
Wage and Hour Laws: California has numerous wage and hour laws, including regulations regarding timely payment of wages, final paychecks, itemized wage statements, and recordkeeping requirements.
Independent Contractor Classification: California has stringent criteria for classifying workers as independent contractors under the "ABC test" established by the California Supreme Court's Dynamex decision and codified by Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5).
Workplace Safety: The state's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) requires employers to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment, comply with safety standards, and establish an Injury and Illness Prevention Program.
This list is not exhaustive, and businesses should consult with legal counsel or human resources professionals to ensure compliance with all federal, state, and local employment and labor laws in California.