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New Employment Laws for 2014

Minimum Wage Increase – The minimum wage will go up from its current $8.00 per hour to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014 and to $10.00 on January 1, 2016.

Expanded Paid Family Leave Benefits – Effective July 1, 2014, California’s Paid Family Leave program will be expanded to include the right to obtain wage replacement benefits while an employee is out on leave to care for the serious health condition of a grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or parent-in-law.

New Overtime Requirements for Domestic Workers – As covered in the Freeman, Freeman & Smiley October 2013 Employment Bulletin, effective January 1, 2014 domestic workers must be paid one and a half times their hourly rate if they worked more than nine hours in a day or more than forty-five hours in a week.  Domestic workers include childcare providers, caregivers, house cleaners, housekeepers, maids, nannies, and other household occupations (not including casual babysitters).

Time Off for Victims of Crime – New legislation adds protections for crime victims to take time off from work to appear in any court proceeding in which a right of the victim is at issue.  The new law applies to crimes such as solicitation for murder and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Time Off for Victims of Stalking, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault – New legislation has also expanded leave protection for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and victims of stalking.  Stalking victims will now be afforded time off to appear at legal proceedings and to seek treatment.  Under the new law it is unlawful to discriminate or retaliate against an employee because of the employee’s status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.  Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for such victims.

Protection from Unfair Immigration-Related Practices – Under new legislation an employer may not threaten to contact, or contact, immigration authorities because an employee complained that the employee was paid less than minimum wage.  New legislation also allows the state to suspend or revoke an employer’s business license if the employer reports, or threatens to report, the immigration status of any employee because the employee made a complaint regarding employment issues.

Expansion of FEHA Coverage – The Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) has been amended to add “military and veteran status” as classes protected against employment discrimination.

Expanded Rest Period for Heat Illness Recovery – California’s meal and rest break provisions have been expanded to include recovery periods covered under Cal OSHA’s Heat Illness Prevention Program.  Employees must now be given breaks of at least five minutes whenever the employee feels the need to do so under such Program.  The failure by an employer to provide an employee a recovery period subjects the employer to paying a premium wage of one hour of pay for each instance.

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This Bulletin is made available for educational purposes and to provide general information on current legal topics, not to provide specific legal advice. The publication of this Bulletin does not create any attorney client relationship, and this Bulletin should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

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