New year, new employment laws taking effect

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — New employment laws in California touch on everything from pay equity to COVID safety this year.

New in 2021 is an effort to close the gender wage gap by requiring companies with 100 or more employees to submit a yearly pay report with how much their employees are working and  making, broken down by gender, race, ethnicity and job type.  

Employment attorney Parveen Tumber said this comes down to accountability. 

Having to write down and submit pay data makes it harder for employers to ignore inequities, and makes authorities better able to enforce the Equal Pay Act, she explained.

“Hopefully, it means that employers can remedy it, and if not, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing will have jurisdiction over these inequities,” Tumber told FOX40.

Also new: supplemental paid sick leave protections for some essential workers are part of the state statute. 

A.B. 1867 extended an extra two weeks of paid sick leave to food sectors and certain essential workers, including firefighters and health care workers. 

These protections provide them with an addition to leave to which they are already entitled.

“So if someone has COVID and they know they have COVID and they’re going to work because they feel like they have to, they’re spreading,” Tumber said.

With regards to family leave, S.B. 1383 expands the California Family Rights Act.

First, the family leave policy is now mandatory in a businesses with five or more employees. It used to just apply to businesses with 50 or more employees.

There’s also another major expansion. Previously protected leave was only for a child, parent or spouse. 

Now, employees will be able to take 12-weeks leave to care for domestic partners, grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or parents-in-law if those family members have a serious health condition.

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