California’s New Employment Laws for 2024: Top 5 Changes

5 key changes in california's new employment laws in 2024

In 2024, employers will notice significant additions to employment laws. Among many things, these will change compensation, leave, and cannabis rights. In today’s blog post, I will brief you on a few of these changes that I believe would really interest you.

The Minimum Wage is $16 Per Hour

It’s California. We do things differently. While some jurisdictions look at a $15 minimum wage, since January 1, 2024, we will have a minimum wage of $16!

It not only affects hourly workers but also raises the minimum salary threshold for exempt employees up to $66,560 per year.

Some cities have higher minimum wages, and employers must have their eyes on industry-specific requirements. For instance, California sets separate wage requirements for healthcare workers.

Paid Leaves

Employees in The Golden State will soon be entitled to 5 days or 40 hours of paid sick and safe leave (whichever is greater). Previously, it was three days or twenty-four hours.

Some employers maintain a comprehensive PTO policy. However, they must allow employees to get time off for covered reasons. Also, local laws will likely overlap with this requirement and conflict with documentation requirements.

Hence, employers should discuss the same with an employment lawyer in California before asking for documentation or disciplining a worker for failing to provide the same.

Reproductive Loss Leaves

Now, employees in California are entitled to 5 days of reproductive loss leave. These rights are not limited to miscarriage and cover stillbirth, failed surrogacy, failed adoptions, or unsuccessful assisted reproductions.

An employer must be cautious when seeking information from their employees for this leave. Although there are no specifics on the questions employers can ask their workers, they must value others’ privacy considerations.

When requested and an employee provides, employers must consider it confidential and not disclose it to anyone apart from internal personnel, that too, only when they must know.

Cannabis Non-discrimination

Yes, something you may or may not have expected, but cannabis users in California now have more rights. Employers cannot discriminate when employing an individual based on their off-duty cannabis use. They also cannot ask them about cannabis use when hiring.

Non-compete Agreements and Notice Requirements

Employers cannot enter or enforce noncompete agreements with employees. Noncompete agreements are void in the state, irrespective of where the employee worked when the employee got into the agreement.

The employer must notify existing and former employees (employed after January 1, 2022) by February 14, 2024, in writing that any noncompete agreements signed are void.

Final Words

California employment will witness various changes. Both employers and employees should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of these changes to make well-informed decisions. The information I provided here is just a summation of the exact changes and should not be the sole source of information. If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to call me.

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