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Human Resources Update for California Organizations

Human Resources Update for California Organizations

October 2014

By Scott Lowther, RoadMap consultant

The Governor has signed 4 new bills into law affecting HR practice in California. They are outlined below for your reference. Do an annual tune-up of your personnel policies and practices starting with these items.

SICK LEAVE (AB1522): Beginning July 1, 2015, every employee, whether exempt or non-exempt (limited exceptions), who is employed in California for 30 days or more will be entitled to accrue paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay of no less than one hour for every 30 hours worked beginning the first day of employment (or July 1, 2015, whichever is later). Exempt employees are deemed to work 40 hours per week, unless the employee normally works a workweek of less than 40 hours. There are also rules about accrual or carry over of sick days, and that this sick time can be used for the employee or family member. Verify if your organization’s policy already complies or update your benefits by July 1, 2015.

ANTI-HARASSMENT TRAINING (AB2053): Beginning January 1, 2015, abusive conduct (bullying) will be a required component in existing mandatory harassment prevention training plus charges can now be made against an employer or employee for conduct that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive and unrelated to business interest. This new law will have a profound effect on what will constitute a hostile workplace due to poor supervisory practices or employees treating each other poorly. This applies to organizations with at least 50 employees and contractors who are required to give anti-harassment training. Verify if your organization’s policy and practices already comply or update them by January 1, 2015.

PROTECTIONS FOR UNPAID INTERNS (AB1443): Beginning January 1, 2015, Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protections will apply to unpaid interns and individuals in apprenticeship training programs, expanding current protections against sexual harassment and discrimination for employees, to now include unpaid interns and volunteers. Types of discrimination covered in the bill include race, gender, sexual orientation and religious creed. Verify if your organization’s policy and practices already comply or update them by January 1, 2015.

PENALTIES FOR WAGE THEFT (AB2074): Increases employer liability in actions alleging the employer paid the employee less than minimum wage. Employees are now able to recover liquidated damages going back three years. Verify your organization pays minimum wage or more, and ensure systems are accurate and complete.

These laws affect record keeping, postings, notices, reporting, pay practices, policies training and supervisory practices. Plus, these laws open significant opportunities for civil or administrative penalties along with private action to be taken. If you need education or support to understand or implement systems to comply with these provisions, contact an attorney or human resources specialist. RoadMap offers consulting services and referrals on this and many other HR topics to help social justice organizations with policies and practices to be thriving, productive workplaces.