Update of New 2021 Employment Laws in California

When each legislative session ends, it is critical for California employers to take note of any new employment law provisions that will impact their companies and workforces. The following is a brief overview of new employment-related laws in California for 2021. To discuss your specific concerns or questions, contact our Encino, CA employment lawyers directly.

New Record Retention Requirements - SB 807 extends the employment record retention period for employers to four years, with possible extensions if an employee files a complaint.

Steeper Wage Theft Penalties - AB 1003 allows for grand theft charges against employers for certain wage theft allegations. Wage theft must involve $950 from a single employee or $2,350 from two or more employees in a 12-month period of time, which includes the alleged theft of gratuities.

Greater Authority for Cal/OSHA - SB 606 gives Cal/OSHA greater enforcement power than before, including the ability to determine when a so-called egregious violation by an employer warrants additional penalties. Cal/OSHA also has the authority to presume that any written health or safety policy of a company that violates standards exists on every worksite of that employer and can be penalized accordingly.

CFRA Expansion - AB 1033 expanded the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to allow employees to take qualified leave if they need to care for a parent-in-law, which was not previously included. The new law also created a new mediation program for employers with between five and 19 employees regarding CFRA leave.

Licenses for Disabled Employees - Previously, licenses were issued allowing certain disabled employees to be paid a lesser “special” minimum wage, but SB 639 prohibits the further issuance of such licenses. Current licenses can be renewed through the end of 2024, but the overall program will now be phased out.

New ABC Test Exemptions - AB 1561 revised several exemptions that existed from the ABC test, which is the test that identifies independent contractors from employees. The revised exemptions apply to subcontractors, licensed manicurists, manufactured housing dealers, underwriters, and data aggregators. The ABC test and its exemptions remain the same for all other types of workers.

Laws for Specialized Employment

There were also a number of laws passed that only impact certain types of employers and employees, including:

If your company employs any of the above types of employees, you should definitely look into the relevant laws that apply. Our law firm can also explain how these laws might impact your operations, so do not hesitate to reach out.

Learn How an Encino Employment Attorney Can Help

Employment laws are constantly changing, especially in California. There are often penalties for employers that fail to comply with new laws, so it is important to stay ahead of the game and prepare for new laws to take effect. The employment law team at Kaufman McAndrew LLP can help, so please contact our office today for a consultation.