Question:

It is a constant struggle to keep up with all of the new employment laws that come out each year. Can you give me a sense of what we can expect in the next year to help get prepared in advance?

Answer:

February 27, 2015 was the last day for introduction of new bills to the California State Legislature for the 2015 session. Below is a summary of some of the significant employment bills that are currently pending. These bills are not certain to pass and are subject to further revision and veto.
SB 3 – Further Increase to the State Minimum Wage: California’s minimum wage is currently scheduled to increase to $10.00 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016. This bill would increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016, and to $13 on July 1, 2017.  After Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum wage would be annually adjusted based on the California Consumer Price Index.
AB 67 – Double Pay on Certain Holidays: This bill would require employers to pay non-exempt employees at least twice the employee’s regular rate of pay for any work on any “family holiday” which would be defined as either Christmas day or Thanksgiving day.
AB 1038 – Individual Alternative Workweeks: California law currently authorizes “alternative workweek schedules” whereby non-exempt employees can elect to work up to ten hours per day within a forty-hour workweek without overtime compensation if two thirds of the employees in their work unit so elect. This bill would permit individual employees to request a flexible work schedule providing for work up to ten hours per day within the forty-hour workweek without overtime.
AB 1470 – Overtime Exemption for Highly-Compensated Employees: This bill would create an overtime exemption for employees performing office or non-manual work with gross annual compensation of at least $100,000.00, if the employees “customarily and regularly” perform one or more of the exempt duties or responsibilities of an executive, administrative, or professional employee. These employees would not have to satisfy the “primary duties” test which requires employees to spend at least 50% of their time on non-exempt tasks to meet the existing exemptions.
SB 358 – Gender Wage Differentials: This bill would limit existing exceptions to the prohibition against gender-based wage differentials and would place the burden on employers to demonstrate that such differentials are based on specified legitimate factors.
SB 406 – California Family Rights Act (CFRA) Expansions: The CFRA provides for job-protected leave for specified family reasons. While the CFRA presently covers employers with 50 or more employees, this bill would expand coverage to employers with five or more employees. The bill would limit existing leave exemptions and would expand the circumstances for which leave may be taken.
AB 676 – Prohibition against Advertising that Unemployed Applicants ‘Need Not Apply’: This bill would prohibit employers, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification, from:  (1) publishing advertisements suggesting an individual’s current employment is a job requirement; or (2) affirmatively asking an applicant to disclose his or her current employment status until the employer has determined that the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications for the position.
More information on these bills is available at www.legislature.ca.gov. Individuals may contact their state legislators to provide input on pending legislation.