New California Employment Laws in 2024 That You Need to Know About

AdobeStock_621812775-300x200As we step into 2024, California employers need to brace themselves for a wave of new employment laws that will shape the dynamics between businesses and their workforces. A series of new legislation, along with revisions to existing laws, demand the attention of all employers. If you have particular inquiries about the implications of these new laws on your business, the California employment lawyers at Structure Law Group stand ready to assist you.

Here’s a concise overview of some pivotal new employment laws to consider as your business navigates 2024:

Non-Compete Clauses & Unfair Competition (Effective January 1, 2024):

California is tightening its grip on non-compete agreements. The Unfair Competition Law now unequivocally prohibits employers from enforcing non-compete agreements with employees, regardless of where the agreement was entered into. Employers have until February 14, 2024, to notify affected employees about the potential voiding of existing agreements, emphasizing the need for written, individualized notices delivered to the last known physical and email addresses.

Arbitration Agreements (Effective January 1, 2024):

Under AB 365, trial court proceedings won’t automatically be stayed during the appeal of arbitration-related orders. Notably, the 9th Circuit’s decision in U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Bonta has validated California employers’ ability to require mandatory arbitration agreements, aligning with the Federal Arbitration Act.

Minimum Wage Adjustments (Effective January 1, 2024 – June 1, 2024):

  • California’s state minimum wage increased to $16 per hour for non-exempt employees, regardless of business size, on January 1, 2024.
  • The minimum salary for exempt employees is now $66,560 per year, as of January 1, 2024.
  • A specific increase applies to health care workers, with the minimum wage escalating to $23 per hour. This change will be implemented on June 1, 2024.
  • Fast food workers can anticipate a wage boost to $20 per hour, effective April 1, 2024, with subsequent yearly increases.
  • Employers are reminded to adhere to local laws and ordinances with more stringent requirements as an ongoing practice.

Workplace Violence Prevention (Effective July 1, 2024):

Employers are mandated to adopt a workplace violence prevention plan, encompassing incident recording, threat documentation, employee training, and record maintenance.

Paid Sick Leave Expansion (Effective January 1, 2024):

Employees are now entitled to five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave, a notable increase from the previous three days or 24 hours. This change reflects a heightened emphasis on employee well-being and extends to local ordinances with higher requirements.

Reproductive Loss Leave (Effective January 1, 2024):

SB 848 introduces five days of unpaid leave for employees experiencing reproductive loss events. This marks a significant stride in recognizing and addressing reproductive losses, ensuring confidentiality for affected employees.

Cannabis Use and Drug Test Results (Effective January 1, 2024):

AB 2188 and SB 700 jointly ensure that employers cannot discriminate based on off-duty cannabis use or prior cannabis use during hiring processes. Employers retain the right to maintain drug-free workplaces.

Whistleblower Protection (Effective January 1, 2024):

SB 497 amends existing law to establish a presumption of retaliation, making it easier for employees to prove retaliation claims related to wage and hour violations, equal pay, and reporting violations.

Notice Requirement (Effective January 1, 2024):

AB 636 amends the wage and employment notice for new hires to include information about relevant federal and state emergency declarations within 30 days before employment commencement.

Food Handler Cards (Effective January 1, 2024):

SB 476 mandates employers to cover costs associated with obtaining a food handler card and pay employees for the time required for training.

Privacy Considerations:

While not a new law, privacy concerns under the CCPA are escalating. Following the first public enforcement action against Sephora in 2022, businesses are urged to ensure compliance, especially regarding GPC signals, financial incentive notices, CCPA consumer rights, and clear “Do Not Sell my Personal Info” links.

Navigating the evolving landscape of employment laws is crucial for California businesses. As we embark on 2024, these legislative changes underscore the need for proactive adaptation and compliance. For personalized legal guidance on how these laws may influence your business, reach out to our California employment lawyers at Structure Law Group, LLP. Contact us today either by calling 408-441-7500 or by reaching out to us online.