Several new employment laws went into effect at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022.  In California, important changes include increasing minimum wage, extending protected leave to include care for parents-in-law, and prohibiting restrictions on disclosure of unlawful acts.

Below is a table of new state and federal laws for this year and a summary of the relevant changes.  The table also lists the effective dates and pertinent category.

Employers in California should be aware of these laws and the impact they may have on their businesses. If you are unsure whether your company’s policies are compliant with state and federal law, feel free to reach out to an employment attorney at Martin Law Firm, P.C.

2022 California Employment Law Updates

Law Category Summary Effective Date
California AB 1003 Theft of Wages Intentional theft of wages greater than $950 from one employee, or $2,350 in the aggregate from two or more employees, by an employer in any consecutive 12-month period is punishable as grand theft. “Theft of wages” is defined in the statute. “Employee” here includes independent contractors and “Employer” includes hiring entity of an independent contractor. January 1, 2022
California AB 1033 Time Off Amendment to CFRA (California Family Rights Act) to include a parent-in-law under definition of family care and medical leave. Employers must grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off annually, in order to care for a parent-in-law with a serious medical condition under the CFRA. Furthermore, the employee must contact the DFEH’s dispute resolution division prior to filing an action and indicate whether they are requesting mediation. A respondent or defendant with 5 to 19 employees (at time of violation) that did not receive the required notification as a result of the employee’s failure to contact the DFEH prior to filing a civil action may obtain a stay of any pending civil action or arbitration until the mediation is complete or deemed unsuccessful.  January 1, 2022
California AB 1171 Background Checks Employers may request from the Department of justice records of all convictions or any arrest pending adjudication for specified offenses for a person who applies for a license, employment, or volunteer position where the person would have supervisory or disciplinary power over a minor. The employer must also notify the parent or guardian of a child if the person does have one of the specified convictions.  Existing law exempts certain convictions, including spousal rape, from that notification requirement. This bill would remove the exemption for spousal rape or any other felony conviction and would instead exempt only misdemeanor convictions from that notification. January 1, 2022
California AB 1506 Employees vs. Independent Contractors Newspaper distributors will remain exempt from the ABC test (for classifying employees vs. independent contractors) until January 2025. Every newspaper publisher or distributor that hires or directly contracts with newspaper carriers must submit specified information related to their workforce to the LWDA on or before Mar. 1, 2022, Mar. 1, 2023, and Mar. 1, 2024. January 1, 2022
California AB 1561 Employees vs. Independent Contractors Extends exemption from the ABC test (for classifying employees vs. independent contractors) to Jan. 1, 2025 (for certain occupations such as licensed manicurists and construction work performed by a subcontractor licensed by the CSLB). Other industries also exempt from the ABC test include: research subjects and data aggregators, insurance/financial workers — underwriting inspections, premium audits, risk management, or loss control work, claims adjusters, and manufactured housing salespersons). January 1, 2022
California AB 1578 Time Off CFRA leave now includes caring for parents-in-law. January 1, 2022
California AB 701 Work Quotas Warehouse and distribution center employers are required to provide to each nonexempt employee upon hire (or within 30 days of these provisions) with a written description of each quota which the employee is subject to and any adverse employment action that could result from failure to meet the quota. Employees or former employees can request (and employer must provide if so), a written description of each quota to which the employee is subject and the most recent 90 days of the employee’s personal work speed data. They may also seek injunctive relief if the quota causes them to miss meal and rest periods.  January 1, 2022
California AB 794 Incentive Program for Port Drayage  This bill includes labor standards that must be met by a fleet purchaser of new drayage and short-haul trucks in order to qualify for an incentive program (for electric and hybrid vehicles/equipment). The fleet purchaser must not have any applicable law violations at the time of applying for incentive, not be on the DLSE list under Section 2810.4, and attest it will retain direct control over the performance of any individual using the vehicle.  January 1, 2022
California AB 825 Data Privacy  Existing law requires an agency that owns or licenses computerized data including personal information to disclose any breach of security. Personal information now includes genetic data as well.  January 1, 2022
California AB 1066 Overtime (Agricultural Industry) Starting January 1, 2022, employers with 26 or more employees must pay agriculture workers overtime if they work more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. If the employer has 25 or fewer employees, the agriculture workers must be paid overtime if they work more than 9.5 hours in a day or 55 hours in a week. 
California SB 3 Minimum Wage This bill has been in effect since 2017 with the purpose of increasing the minimum wage each year, until 2023. As of January 1, 2022, the minimum wage for employers with 25 or less employees is $14.00 per hour, and the minimum wage for employers with 26 or more employees is $15.00 per hour.  January 1, 2022
California SB 62 Piece Rates in Garment Manufacturing Garment manufacturing employees may not be paid by piece rate, with a few specified exceptions. The compensatory damages are $200 per employee against a garment manufacturer or contractor, payable to the employee, for each pay period in which each employee is paid by piece rate. Employers in the business of garment manufacturing and brand guarantors must keep all relevant documentation for 4 years. January 1, 2022
California SB 338 Port Drayage Liability DLSE must post information for a port drayage motor carrier that is a prior offender, as defined in the statute, even if all periods for appeals have not expired. If the DLSE receives notice that a listed prior offender has prevailed on appeal, then it must remove the posting within 15 business days. The customer of a listed port drayage motor carrier now has liability expanded to include civil legal responsibility and civil liability owed to the state for port drayage services obtained after the date the prior offending motor carrier appeared on the list.  January 1, 2022
California SB 255 Health Insurance This bill authorizes an association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met, such as being headquartered in California and being a MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement) as defined under ERISA.   January 1, 2022
California SB 326 Health Insurance An association of employers may offer a large group health care service plan contract to small group employer members of the association, if certain requirements are met such as: the association is headquartered in California, was established prior to March 23, 2010, and has been in continuous existence since that date.  January 1, 2022
California SB 718 Health Insurance Until Jan. 1, 2026, this bill authorizes an association of employers to offer a large group health care service plan contract or large group health insurance policy to small group employer members of the association consistent with ERISA if certain requirements are met. Additionally, the association must be an organization with purposes unrelated to the provision of health care benefits and participating employers must have common interests from being in the same industry, as specified in the statute.  January 1, 2022
California SB 331 Nondisclosure Agreement Employers may not require an employee to sign a non-disparagement agreement or other document to the extent it has the purpose or effect of preventing the employee from disclosing information about sexual assault, sexual harassment, workplace harassment or discrimination (whether based on sex or not based on sex), or other unlawful acts in the workplace.  January 1, 2022
California SB 572 Judgments for Labor Code Violations The Labor Commissioner is authorized to create a lien on real property, as an alternative to a judgment lien, to secure amounts due to the commissioner for labor code violations.  January 1, 2022
California SB 606 Cal OSHA Violations Creates a rebuttable presumption that a Cal OSHA violation committed by an employer that has multiple worksites is enterprise-wide if the employer has a written policy or procedure that violates these provisions, except as specified. Likewise, a rebuttable presumption is created if DOSH has evidence of a pattern or practice of the same violation committed by that employer involving more than one of the employer’s worksites. This bill authorizes the division (DOSH) to issue an enterprise-wide citation requiring enterprise-wide abatement if employer fails to rebut such presumption. An enterprise-wide violation is subject to the same penalty provision as willful or repeated violations. Furthermore, DOSH must issue a citation for each egregious violation (as defined in statute), and each instance an employee is exposed to that violation is considered a separate violation for purpose of fines and penalties. Additionally, DOSH can issue a subpoena, injunction, or temporary restraining order if necessary in the investigation of the policies and practices of an employer.  January 1, 2022
California SB 639 Disabled Employee Wages This bill phases out special licenses allowing disabled employees to be paid less than minimum wage. New special licenses can not be issued out after January 1, 2022. By Jan. 1, 2025, it is prohibited to pay a disabled employee less than the minimum wage (whichever is higher between the legal minimum and applicable local minimum wage). January 1, 2022
California SB 646 Labor Relations: PAGA Exemption Certain janitorial employees are exempt from PAGA with respect to work performed under a collective bargaining agreement in effect before July 1, 2028 (the employees must also be represented by a labor organization that has represented janitors before January 1, 2021, and be employed by a janitorial contractor who registered with the labor commissioner as a property service employer in calendar year 2020).  January 1, 2022
California SB 657 Required Notifications for Employees In any instance in which an employer is required to physically post information, an employer may also distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. This does not change the employer’s obligation to physically display the required posting.   January 1, 2022
California SB 727 Direct Contractor Liability Existing law requires direct contractors in certain construction contracts to assume and be liable for the debt owed to a wage claimant or third party on the wage claimant’s behalf, incurred by a subcontractor. Existing law limits direct contractor’s liability to unpaid wage, fringe or other benefit payment or contribution, including interest owed. This bill extends direct contractor’s liability (for contracts entered into on or after Jan. 1, 2022) to penalties, liquidated damages, and interest owed by the subcontractor on account of the performance of the labor, subject to provided exceptions.  January 1, 2022
California SB 807 Tolling Civil Claims Tolls the deadline for the DFEH to file a civil action pursuant to the FEHA while a mandatory or voluntary dispute resolution is pending. When a complaint is filed with the DFEH for an alleged violation of certain laws, the time for complainants to file their own civil actions under those provisions is tolled until either the DFEH files a civil action or one year after the DFEH issues written notice to the complainant that it has closed its investigation and elected not to file a civil action. This tolling applies retroactively, but it is not intended to revive claims that have already lapsed. Furthermore, the DFEH is required to issue a right-to-sue notice upon completion of its investigation, if it does not bring a civil action for unlawful employment practices 150 days after the filing of a complaint or determines that it will not bring a civil action. The DFEH must issue the right-to-sue notice no later than 2 years after the filing of the complaint. Additionally, the FEHA requirement for record retention for certain employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, and the State Personnel Board is now 4 years.  January 1, 2022

2022 Federal Employment Law Updates

Law Category Summary Effective Date
Department of Labor – Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Partial Withdrawal  Tip Credits Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers may only take a tip credit when its tipped employees perform work that is part of the employee’s tipped occupation. Work that is part of the tipped occupation includes work that produces tips as well as work that directly supports tip producing work, provided that the supporting work accounts for 20 percent or less of the employee’s time at work. An example of supporting work is where a waiter spends part of his time cleaning and setting tables, and occasionally washes dishes. Employers may not use tip credits for the time where employees are routinely assigned to maintenance, or spend a substantial amount of time (more than 20 percent of their work time) on preparation or maintenance work. December 28, 2021
Department of Labor – OSHA COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing; Emergency Temporary Standard (29 CFR 1910, 1915, 1917, 1918, 1926, and 1928) COVID-19 OSHA is issuing an emergency temporary standard for employers of 100 or more employees. Covered employers must develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, with an exception for employers that instead adopt a policy requiring employees to either get vaccinated or elect to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work instead of vaccination. A mandatory vaccination policy still excepts employees (1) for whom a vaccine is medically contraindicated, 2) for whom medical necessity requires a delay in vaccination, or 3) those legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation under federal civil rights laws because they have a disability or sincerely-held religious beliefs, practices, or observances that conflict with the vaccination requirement.  December 6, 2021
Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors COVID-19: Federal Contractors To decrease the spread of COVID-19, executive departments and agencies are directed to include a clause for contractors and subcontractors specifying the following: Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to comply with all guidance for contractor or subcontractor workplace locations published by the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force Guidance or Guidance),  September 9, 2021
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Omnibus COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination COVID-19: Healthcare Industry  Most Medicare and Medicaid-certified providers and suppliers must establish COVID-19 vaccination requirements for staff. Certain allergies, medical conditions, or religious beliefs, observances, or practices may still provide grounds for exemption from vaccination.  November 5, 2021
Department of Labor Final Rule on Tip Regulations Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); Partial Withdrawal (29 CFR 531, 578, 579, and 580) Labor Violations For purposes of showing whether a violation of section 6 or 7 of the FLSA is willful (see 29 CFR 578.3(c)(2-3) and 29 CFR 579.2), multiple circumstances can be sufficient to show that a violation is willful because it is knowing or is done with reckless disregard for whether the conduct violates the FLSA. 29 CFR 531.52 is revised to provide that managers or supervisors may keep tips only when the tip is based on a service the manager or supervisor directly and solely provides.  October 23, 2021


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