California Employment Laws Effective Jan. 1, 2021

In general, once approved by both the state legislature and the state governor, a new bill in California becomes effective on January 1 of the following year (some exceptions are possible for emergency measures and when the bills specifically appoint a different effective date).

This Compliance Bulletin provides an overview of labor and employment laws California adopted throughout 2020. Specific labor and employment updates include:

  • Discrimination;
  • Employee leave;
  • Employee wages;
  • Worker classification;
  • Workplace safety; and
  • Youth employment.

Action Steps

Employers should review these laws and update their employment policies, practices and procedures to remain in compliance. Employers should seek the advice of a knowledgeable legal professional for specific situations and counsel on how to implement required changes.

As usual, employers should also continue to monitor California’s Department of Industrial Relations communications for updates on these, and additional labor and employment, topics. Please contact TechServe Alliance for more information on these updates and other labor and employment issues.

Important Updates

Employee Leave

Updates to employee leave expanded the California Family Rights Act and victim leave and clarified the use of sick leave and paid family leave.

Employee Wages

The state increased the threshold to qualify for the physician, surgeon and computer professional overtime exemptions. State pay data reporting requirements also became effective.

Worker Classification

California clarified how the ABC independent contractor test applies to newspaper carriers and app-based drivers.

Youth Employment

HR personnel and some supervisors for employers with five or more employees became mandatory sexual abuse reporters for employees under the age of 18.

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