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Employment Laws 2015

Posted December 2014 by S. Ward Heinrichs
Employment Laws 2015

Increase in the minimum wage
The biggest news about new labor laws is the California minimum wage increase. This will affect most, if not all, employers and will raise the wages for many workers, even those who make more than minimum wage.
The new minimum wage law provides for an increase to $9 per hour starting on July 1, 2014 and an increase to $10 per hour on January 1, 2016. Obviously, those who make minimum wage will see their wages increase. In addition, those who make the minimum salary to qualify as an exempt employee will also see their salaries increase. Those minimum salaries are equal to two times the minimum wage, so when the minimum wage increases, those salaries also increase. Further, other wage earners making more the minimum hourly rate and the minimum salary may also see their wages increase because of the general upward pressure in wages from the increase in the minimum wage.

The increase in minimum wage will increase the cost of doing business for most of the businesses that hire employees. The additional wage cost to businesses will have different widely varying effects. Some large businesses may be able to absorb the entire cost. On the other end of the spectrum, some small businesses may be forced to close. Some businesses, large or small, may reduce their workforce or cancel work force expansion plans.

Cool down rest periods
Soon, when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees, outdoor workers will be entitled to at least five minutes of rest on an “as needed” basis. The law does not provide the employer with a way of denying the employee the break, so, apparently, when the employee claims the need for a break, the employer cannot object. Most lawyers believe that the subjective nature of determining when someone needs a break will cause many problems with implementing the requirements of this new law. The law will probably spawn much litigation.

Domestic Workers
Nannies, home health care providers, and maids used to be exempt from the overtime premium pay requirements. Now they are entitled to overtime. If they work more than 9 hours per day or 45 hours per week, then the new law requires employers to pay time-and-a-half for all hours worked beyond those thresholds. They also will be entitled to rest and meal periods. Many felt that household employers took advantage of nannies, health care workers, and maids and made them work very long hours. The law was passed to curb those perceived abuses.

Veterans and active duty military are now protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act
Before the change in the law, employers could discriminate against employees because they were either veterans or active duty personnel and not face discrimination lawsuits based on violations of California law. Now, employers could face discrimination lawsuits if they pick on employees because they are veterans or active duty.


Grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and in-law parents are now eligible for Paid Family Leave
The legislature extended Paid Family Leave benefits to grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, and in-law parents. Those groups of people will soon be eligible to receive paid leave to care for grandparents, grandkids, brothers and sisters, and in-laws.

Increased protections for immigrant workers
When immigrant employees assert employment rights, their employers could face retaliation lawsuits if they treat those employees in a way that adversely effects their employment because the immigrant asserted a work place right.

S. Ward Heinrichs, Esq.
Employment Law Office of Ward Heinrichs
4565 Ruffner Street, Suite 207
San Diego, CA 92111
858-292-0792
(858) 408-7543 (fax)

Employment Law Office of WARD HEINRICHS

4565 Ruffner St. Suite 207 San Diego 92111

858-292-0792

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