5 New California Laws That Go into Effect in 2021/22

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California has enacted new laws for 2022, so when will they go into effect, and how will they affect you?

First, there are new laws that were enacted and have recently become effective in 2021, passed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Also, there are other California new laws that are set to take effect as of January 1, 2022, that you should be aware of too. And so, it is crucial to note that all these laws will have a significant impact on California employers.

All these laws, including the already existing California laws, are clearly stipulated in our California code of regulations. But in this article, we will highlight and discuss 5 new California laws that go into effect in 2021 or as of January 1, 2022.

The new laws in California 2021 and 20221. Increase in Minimum wage

As of January 1, 2021, employers with 26 or more employees saw an increase in the minimum wage to $14 per hour. And for employers with 25 or less employees, the minimum wage increased to $13 per hour. However, as of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in California is going to increase once again. For the employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage will go up from $14 to $15 per hour and from $13 to $14 per hour for those with 25 or less employees.

Additionally, in California, minimum wage ordinances have also been enacted for wages exceeding the state minimum wage in several cities and local governments.2. AB-73 Health emergencies: employment safety: agricultural workers: wildfire smoke (Effective September 27, 2021).

In case of any health emergencies and wildfire smoke events, the State Department of Public Health is required to implement several programs throughout the state in accordance with AB 73. These programs are in relation to public health, which includes control of infectious diseases as well as licensing and regulating health facilities.

The state is required to develop this under a pre-existing law so as to grant agricultural workers access to personal protective equipment (PPE) stockpiles. Furthermore, this bill requires that the “PPE Advisory Committee” be included among its ranks:● One agricultural employers’ representative from any organization representing agricultural employers, and● One agricultural workers’ representative from a labor organization that represents these employees.

Notably, PPE Advisory Committee comprises various industries representatives, and the committee is established by pre-existing law. Besides, the people of the state of California do enact these laws, and it comprises four main sections.3. AB-468, Freidman. Emotional support animals (Effective January 1, 2022).

For items related to selling of “emotional support animals” or “emotional support dogs,” AB 468 therefore, provides written notice requirements. These requirements are to be abided by those who sell these dogs or emotional support animals. 

The rights and privileges of which “guide, signal or service dog” is entitled are different from what an “emotional support” dog/animal is. Therefore, AB 468 notice necessitates that the sellers should enlighten buyers on the fact. And it is crucial to note that it is a misdemeanor for oneself to misrepresent himself as the owner of a “guide, signal or service dog” owner.

This notice also stresses the licensing process according to what’s defined in California’s Business and Professions Code. And so, to be a licensed “health care practitioner” in California AB 486 stipulates requirements that must be met. This includes providing documentation on why an induvial need an “emotional dog.”4. California’s AB-701 Warehouse distribution centers requirements (Effective January 1, 2022)

A new Assembly Bill 701 (AB 701) is another California new law. This bill on warehouse distribution centers was signed by California’s Governor on September 22, 2021. This bill controls the usage of quotas at warehouse distribution centers in California. 

So, where and how does this law apply?

Well, if you’re a large warehouse distribution centers employer that meets industry definitions, then this bill applies to you. This means all Merchant Wholesalers (for durable and non-durable goods), Mail-Order Houses, Electronic Shopping and warehousing, and storage companies have to abide by this law. And upon hire of an employee or within 30 of this law going into effect, all employers with big warehouse distributions centers are required by this bill to disclose employees’ pace-of-work standards and quotas.

Every large warehouse distribution center employer should provide; “a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject, including the quantified number of tasks to be performed, or materials to be produced or handled, within the defined time period, and any potential adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota.”5. Assembly Bill 1003 Makes Wage theft a grand theft; Intentional theft.

One of the major new laws in California 2022 passed by the state of California that will go into effect by January 1, 2022, is on wage theft. Bill AB-1003 adds Section 487m to the Penal Code, and it is crucial for every employer to be aware of this bill.

With this bill passed by California lawmakers, “wage theft” will now be considered grand theft in this state. Additionally, independent contractors are defined as employees under this bill. And it also specifies that the hiring party of an independent contractor is considered as an “employer.”

The intentional theft of wages amounting to $950 or more for one employee or $2,350 for 2 or more employees within a 12-month period, by an employer, is punishable as grand theft. This crime is punishable with a prison sentence of up to three years. The actual extent of the sentence is dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case. Benefits, gratuities, and other compensation are wages subject to this section.

Examples of wage theft according to the California Labor Commissioner’s office include:● An employee getting paid wage per hour that is less than the minimum recommended wage.● Managers and owners taking tips● Unauthorized deductions from the paycheck or an employee’s pay● If promised vacations or bonuses are not paid● Split shift premiums not being paid● Paychecks bouncing● Unreimbursed for business expenses● Not accruing or not being permitted to use a paid sick leave

These are just a few examples of wage theft; there are several other wage thefts that now fall under grand thefts.

Final Thought

Generally, there are several new laws in California that we haven’t included in this list. But the ones listed above are some of the major ones that an employer or employee residing in the state of California should be aware of. Besides these new laws, there are other existing laws that you should also be mindful of, and all are stipulated in Lawrina’s California code of regulations. So, be sure to check them.

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Jennifer Evans
President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon