As we enter the new year, I want to thank my colleagues, clients, friends and family who made 2016 such a success. I opened my Pleasanton office a little more than a year ago. With your support and encouragement, I continue to help my clients resolve their workplace issues. It has been a great year, with lots of opportunities. I’m thankful I get to work with such a wide variety of clients in such diverse industries.
New Year, New Laws
We saw a lot of changes in 2016. New decisions regarding arbitration agreements continue to shape how employers and employees resolve their disputes. Legislative changes now make it more difficult for employers to force employees to use arbitration in California.
Employers must now separately track and report rest and recovery periods and non-productive time for piece-rate workers.
More cities and counties adopted higher minimum wage requirements. California followed suit increasing minimum wage to $10.50 per hour effective January 1, 2017, for employers with 26 or more employees. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the minimum wage is still $10.00 per hour until 2018.
The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights became permanent, which secures the right to overtime for caregivers (aka personal attendants).
Workplaces with single-user restrooms must now be gender-neutral, and California’s Equal Pay Act saw a significant overhaul.
Companies cannot prohibit employees from discussing their wages, and security guards now have to be paid weekly. Employers also face tougher penalties if they fail to pay Labor Commissioner judgments.
Many will struggle with drug policies now that marijuana is legal for recreational purposes, and there are tougher restrictions regarding what employers can ask about criminal convictions.
State Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits were increased to make them more meaningful to low-wage workers.
I hope 2017 brings prosperity to you and yours. Remember to take the time to appreciate what you have. Wishing you a very Happy New Year.
Original article by Robert E. Nuddleman of Nuddleman Law Firm, P.C.
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