As businesses turn the calendar to 2019, one of the most important duties they have is ensuring their company policies are aligned with the numerous changes regarding various aspects of labor law. From paying workers the correct minimum hourly wage and overtime pay, providing training in sexual-harassment prevention, and many other rules and regulations, being in compliance with California’s labor laws is crucial to avoiding fines and other penalties.
Minimum Wage Increase
First signed into law in 2016 and enacted over the course of several years, the minimum wage increase is one of the most important laws of which California employers must be aware. As of January 1, 2019, all businesses in the state must pay employees at least $11 per hour if they have 25 or fewer employees, and $12 per hour if their business employs 26 or more workers.
Along with the minimum wage increase, rules for overtime pay have also changed. For agricultural employers with at least 26 employees, workers will be allowed to collect overtime pay, also known as time-and-a-half, after working 9.5 hours per day or 55 hours per week. Meanwhile, smaller agricultural employers that have 25 or fewer employees will begin phasing in overtime changes beginning in 2022.
Sexual Harassment Training
One of the most talked-about issues in today’s workplace, sexual harassment is a topic all employers are now expected to take much more seriously than in years past. As a result, sexual harassment training requirements for employers changed as of January 1, 2019. As of now, mandatory sexual harassment training is in place for all businesses with at least five employees, with one hour for non-supervisory employees and two hours for supervisory personnel every two years. This is a major change for many employers, since the previous law was in effect for employers that had 50 or more workers, and required two hours of harassment prevention training every 24 months for supervisory personnel only.
Since more and more young mothers are in today’s workplace, lactation accommodations have become one of the most talked-about aspects of modern labor law in California. Because of this, new requirements for employers took effect as of January 1, 2019. All employers, regardless of size, must provide lactation accommodations, other than a bathroom, where nursing mothers will be able to express breast milk.
Gender Representation on Boards of Directors
To ensure women are fairly represented in positions of corporate leadership, California labor law now requires that by December 31, 2019, all publicly-held corporations must have at least one female present on their board of directors.
Due to the many changes that have taken place for 2019, now is the time for all California employers to make sure they are in full compliance with all new workplace rules and regulations. Rather than face the possibility of fines, penalties, and even potential lawsuits, it is best for Human Resource professionals, supervisors, and other high-ranking personnel to review their company policies and make whatever changes may be necessary.