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By: Christina Tillman

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The following is a summary of significant changes for employers in 2018 and a few of the changes from 2017 that you may have missed:

1. Minimum Wage Increase

Minimum wage will increase to $10.50 for employers with 25 or fewer employees, and $11.00 to those with 26 or more employees.  Certain localities have their own minimum wage ordinances that provide for greater than the state-wide minimum wage, including:  the City and County of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Clara, Santa Monica, Sunnyvale, San Diego and Emeryville.  Please let me  know if you need specific information relating to these localities.

As a result of the increase, the minimum annual salary an employee must earn to quality as exempt will increase to $43,680 for those with 25 and fewer employees and $45,760 for those with 26 or more employees.

Note:  the phase in increased overtime requirements for agricultural employees will begin January 1, 2019.

2. Ban-the-Box (AB 1008).

Employers with five or more employees cannot (a) include on an employment application any question seeking disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history, (b) inquire into or consider an applicant’s conviction history until after a conditional employment offer has been made, or (c) consider, distribute, or disseminate information developed as a result of the background check that is related to (i) certain arrests not followed by a conviction, (ii) referral to or participation in a pre-trial or post-trial diversion program, and (iii) convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated.

This law expands the Labor Code’s long-time prohibition on employers asking a job applicant to disclose, or from utilizing as a factor in determining any condition of employment, information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction, or information concerning a referral or participation in diversion programs.

If an employer intends to deny an applicant a job offer because of the applicant’s conviction history, the new law requires employers to make an individualized assessment and comply with certain notice procedures before employment may be denied.

3. Ban on Salary History (AB 168).

Employers can no longer inquire into or rely on an applicant’s salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to offer an applicant.   Employers cannot verbally or in writing, directly or indirectly, seek this type of information about the applicant.  Employers must also, upon reasonable request, provide an applicant with the pay scale assigned to the position sought.   If, however, an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses his or her salary history to a potential employer, the employer may consider and rely on that history in setting the applicant’s salary.

4. Expansion of parental leave (SB 63).

Employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of time off work for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child under the California Family Rights Act.   The New Parent Leave Act extends these time-off provisions for “bonding” purposes to eligible employees who work for employers with 20 or more employees.

5. Antidiscrimination (SB 396).

Employers must post notice regarding transgender rights and those with fifty or more employees must provide training addressing harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. 

6. Fair Pay (SB 1063, AB 1676)

Prohibits employers from paying any of its employees wage rates that are less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work.  Employers cannot rely on salary by itself to justify any disparity in compensation.

7. All-Gender Restrooms (AB 1732)

All single-user toilet facilities in any business establishment or place of public accommodation must be identified as “all-gender” toilet facilities. 

8. Reasonable Accommodations for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Protections (AB 2337)

The new law requires notice to new hires about rights not only to time off (existing law) but also for accommodations like transfer, reassignment, and change in phone number.  The Labor Commissioner has issued a sample notice available HERE .  Employers can include the language about reasonable accommodations in their employee handbook and eliminate the need for the notice or simply provide the Labor Commissioner’s form or a form similar to it.

9. Choice of Law Provisions (SB 1241).

An employer cannot require an employee who primarily works and resides in California to agree to adjudicate a claim in another state when the claim arises in California or apply another state’s law to a controversy that arises in California.  Consider revising employment contracts or arbitration agreements that contain such provisions.


The following is a general overview.  If you have specific questions about the intricacies of the law or its impact on your business please seek legal advice for a more comprehensive explanation.

Last Updated Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 01:42 AM.