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California’s New “Two-Tier” Minimum Wage

Starting January 1, 2017, California now has two different minimum wages – $10.00 per hour for “small” employers, and $10.50 for “large” employers. This “two-tier” minimum wage structure will remain in place for the next seven years, and will provide several ongoing challenges for employers in the Golden State. In this podcast, California Littler Shareholder, Bruce Sarchet, breaks down the impact of this two-tier approach on businesses and provides guidance on employer compliance with these new obligations.

Why Learning How to Count to 26 Just Became Important: Recent Changes to California and Local Minimum Wage Laws

Recently California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) issued an FAQ concerning 2016 legislative changes that impact the state minimum wage in 2017 and future years. The most notable change was the creation of a two-tier system in which a $10.50 minimum wage rate applies to employers with 26 or more employees and a $10.00 minimum wage rate applies to employers with 25 or fewer employees. The FAQ do not provide concrete guidance as to how employer size is calculated, but do provide a glimpse into how DLSE might interpret the law. The lack of clarity in the FAQ will particularly frustrate some Southern California employers that must also comply with local minimum wage laws which, like their state counterpart, use a 26/25 employee cut-off, but a different test to determine employer size.

New Year, New Minimum Wage – Or Maybe Not

Time was, answering the question “What is the minimum wage?” was simple. There was the federal minimum wage and the state minimum wage, and for most California employers, only the latter number really mattered. Now the answer to the question is “It depends.” As California employers begin a new year they face a confusing patchwork of laws regarding the minimum wage.

Labor Code Section 925: Answers to 10 Key Questions About California’s New Limits on Out-of-State Choice of Law and Forum Selection Clauses

On January 1, 2017, California Labor Code Section 925 went into effect. This new provision limits an employer’s ability to require employees to enter agreements that include out-of-state choice of law and/or forum selection clauses. Below are 10 questions about the new law and the answers every employer should know.

California Wage/Hour Update (No. 1, January 2017)

The past several years have been a difficult time for many California employers when it comes to wage and hour compliance. But if enterprising plaintiffs’ attorneys have their way, times will get even worse in the coming years. By examining what we have experienced in the recent past along with current trends shaping the future of wage and hour law, you can be ready to handle the expected onslaught of new claims that could be heading your way.

Santa Monica Employers Ring in the New Year With Paid Sick Leave

In January of 2016, the Santa Monica City Council adopted an ordinance that would both raise the city’s minimum wage and impose paid sick leave requirements—in addition to those imposed by the state’s paid sick leave statute—on employers. The ordinance was initially scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2016. However, a subsequent amendment to the ordinance changed the effective date of the paid sick leave provisions to January 1, 2017.

California and Criminal Convictions: Employers May Want to Reexamine Their Background Check Policies in Light of Proposed Regulations

In early 2016, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) proposed regulations that are intended to define and clarify how using a person’s criminal history may violate the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). If adopted, the regulations would create additional avenues for job applicants and employees to sue employers for violations of FEHA. These regulations, coupled with the growing number of local jurisdictions implementing “ban the box” legislation, are yet another reminder that employers may want to proceed with caution when using an employee’s criminal history to make an employment decision.

California Division of Industrial Relations Overview of New California Laws Available

Jackson Lewis recently completed a series of seminars throughout California on many of the key California workplace law updates. On December 28, 2016, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) released its own 2016 Legislative Digest summarizing new laws that impact employees. The DIR Legislative Digest is the DIR’s summary of key laws and is helpful for employers to see their focus.

California Supreme Court Tells Employees To Rest Assured

Executive Summary: After a years-long battle, the California Supreme Court finally issued a ruling defining what it means for an employer to provide a rest break to non-exempt employees under California law: rest breaks cannot be “on-duty” or “on-call,” as employers must relieve their employees of all duties and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time. This includes a prohibition against requiring employees to keep work cell phones, pagers, and walkie talkies on during breaks, but it may also prohibit other policies such as requiring employees to stay on the premises during breaks or single/limited staffing models.

Employees on Rest Breaks Must Be Off Duty, California Supreme Court Rules

A class of security guards received an early holiday present from the California Supreme Court on December 22.