The California Legislature has enacted several new labor and employment laws that will impact the workplace in 2022. For insurance brokers with business owner clients, the following summarizes the top seven changes that employers need to be aware of that could impact their business operations, policies and employees.

California’s Family Rights Act

Before the passage of AB 1033, CFRA leave was granted for employees caring for family members who were defined as an employee’s spouse, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner. On January 1, legislators expanded the CFRA to include parents-in-law.

California’s Independent Contractor AB 5 ABC Test

When determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor, employers were subject to conducting the AB 5 ABC Test. Recently,  AB 2257 amended AB 5; it now exempts certain categories of workers from the ABC test. Currently, there are 109 categories of workers exempted from the test in California under AB 2257.

Quotas at large warehouses

AB 701 regulates the use of quotas at warehouse distribution centers in California. The new law requires employers with large warehouse distribution centers to disclose quotas and pace-of-work standards to each employee upon hire, or within 30 days of the law going into effect. In addition, the law states that employees need not meet quotas that prevent compliance with meal or rest periods, use of bathroom facilities, or occupational health and safety laws.

Meal and rest period premiums

California Labor Code Section 226.7 requires employers to pay employees “one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday” that an employee was not provided a meal or rest period. For meals and wage orders, Labor Code Section 512 states that non-exempt employees must be provided with no less than a 30-minute uninterrupted meal period when the employee works more than five hours. If an employee works more than 10 hours per day, the employee must receive a second uninterrupted 30-minute meal break. For rest periods, employers must authorize non-exempt employees a 10-minute break for each four-hour work period or fraction thereof.

Personnel record retention and DFEH Procedures

Employers are required to maintain the personal records of employees and applicants for two years. Effective January 1, SB 807 now requires employers to maintain records for four years from the date the record was created. In addition, SB 807 extends the time period for an individual to file a civil action for violations of certain statutes by delaying that period while the Department of Fair Employment and Housing investigates and/or takes action on a complaint.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration enforcements

Effective January 1, SB 606 has increased Cal/OSHA’s enforcement power by creating two new violation categories — enterprise-wide and egregious. Grounds for an enterprise-wide violation presume that the employer has committed a company-wide violation of Health and Safety Code 25910 in regard to written safety policies or procedures. Violations to the code will also apply if there is a pattern of unsafe practices at more than one worksite. Grounds for an egregious violation presume that the employer has intentionally disregarded the health and work safety responsibilities and has made no effort to correct/eliminate an identified hazard.

Kristi W. Dean, Managing Partner
Stone Dean LLP

Kristi is an experienced litigator and transaction attorney who represents clients in business transactions and litigation disputes. Her litigation practice focuses on trade secrets, unfair business competition, insurance law and complex business disputes, with a focus on insurance-related issues. 

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