Amid the current COVID-19 crisis and the fallout from it, there are other California labor law issues that employers should keep on their radar.
California, like many other states, has adopted a "living wage" initiative to gradually increase the state's minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Minimum Wage in California is Local, Too
For 2020 the state minimum wage increased to $12.00 for employers with 25 employees or less, and $13.00 for employers with 26 employees or more. These wage rates are scheduled to increase annually until they reach $15.00 in 2022 for larger employers and 2023 for those with 25 employees or less.
However, many local municipalities have instituted local minimum wage mandates of their own and the schedules are often staggered.
On July 1, 2020 there are a number of hourly minimum wage rate increases slated to go into effect. California employers should also be aware of these increases to local minimum wage changes and adjust their payroll records accordingly.
Here is a list of the California towns and cities that will experience an increase next month:
Alameda - $15
Berkeley - $16.07
Emeryville - $16.84
Fremont - $15 for 26+ workers; $13.50 for 25 or fewer workers
Los Angeles (City and Unincorporated Areas of County) - $15 for 26+ workers; $14.25 for 25 or fewer workers
Malibu - $15 for 26+ workers; $14.25 for 25 or fewer workers
Milpitas - $15.40
Novato - $15 for 100+ workers; $14 for 26-99 workers; $13 for 1-25 workers
Pasadena - $15 for 26+ workers; $14.25 for 25 or fewer workers
San Leandro - $15
San Francisco - $16.07
Santa Monica - $15 for 26+ workers; $14.25 for 25 or fewer workers
Santa Rosa - $15 for 26+ workers; $14 for 25 or fewer workers
Be Clear on Minimum Wage-Hour Requirements
Along with a myriad of minimum wage increases that vary from city to city, as well as from that required by the state and the federal government, there are other wage-related issues that can create confusion.
According to an article from Ford & Harrison LLP,
"California employers should remember that wage requirements for salaried-exempt employees and commissioned sales employees are tied to the state (not local) minimum wage rates, so local minimum wage increases typically do not affect these exemptions. The same holds true for employees affected by California's “tool rule” which generally requires employers to provide and maintain necessary tools and equipment for employees or ensure that they are paid at least two times the state (not local) minimum wage."
Ongoing Changes in the "New Normal" of the COVID-19 Response in California
As California and other states continue to struggle with the persistent threat of the coronavirus, COVID-19, the Governor recently issued a new health order.
On June 18, 2020, California's Governor issued new "Guidance For The Use Of Face Coverings."
According to information released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH),
"The new order updates the existing CDPH guidance for the use of cloth face coverings by the general public when outside the home. It mandates that face coverings be worn state-wide in the circumstances and with the exceptions outlined below. It does not substitute for existing guidance about social distancing and handwashing."
The following is an excerpt from the official CDPH press release,
People in California must wear face coverings when they are in the high-risk situations listed below:
• Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
• Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not
limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or
dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
• Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a
taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
• Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site;
• Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
• Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless
of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
• Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale
or distribution to others;
• Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways,
stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
• In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for
members of the person’s own household or residence) are present
when unable to physically distance.
• Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi,
or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present.
When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly
• While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of
6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or
residence is not feasible.
So, what are the practical implications of this new guidance for California employers and their workers?
For the most part, employees are now required to wear face coverings in the workplace at all times unless they are in a workspace that is not open to, or visited by, members of the public, and they are maintaining proper physical distancing of at least 6 feet.
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