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Here’s How California’s New Labor Laws Will Impact Residents

A handful of new state labor laws will go into effect on Jan. 1. With the new laws, employers will be required to include salary and wage ranges on job postings, minimum wage will rise and millions will receive greater paid family leave.

California Labor Federation President Lorena Gonzalez, a former Assemblywoman, speaks to an Aug. 26 rally at the state Capitol after the United Farm Workers 24-day march from Delano. The UFW pressured Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign a bill allowing farm workers to vote by mail in representation elections.
(Hector Amezcua/TNS)
(TNS) — Job hunters will be able to know how much a position pays before applying. Public employers found to be interfering with union activity will pay sizable fines. Family leave benefits will improve.

These are some of the changes coming for California workers and businesses as the calendar flips to 2023. Here’s what you should know about new laws taking effect next year:

Pay Transparency

Employers with more than 15 workers will have to include salary and wage ranges in their job postings and provide that information to any employee or applicant who requests it.

The state’s labor commissioner can fine employers up to $10,000 for failing to comply with Senate Bill 1162. There are also fines for failing to submit demographic pay data to the state.

“California has the strongest equal pay laws in the nation, but we’re not letting up on our work to ensure all women in our state are paid their due and treated equally in all spheres of life,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement after he signed the bill into law.

Minimum Wage Increase

This January, California’s minimum wage will rise to $15.50.

That’s a 50-cent-per-hour increase for businesses with 26 or more employees, and $1.50 an hour for those with 25 or fewer. This will be the first time all employers in the state will pay the same minimum wage, regardless of size.

Legislation signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 tied increases beyond $15 an hour to inflation. Gov. Newsom announced in May that this latest increase was based on inflation exceeding 7 percent.

“The wage increase will benefit millions of California households that are struggling to keep pace with the highest rate of inflation in decades. For years, the state minimum wage has increased steadily while inflation numbers remained modest,” Newsom’s office said at the time.

Greater Union Protections

Farm workers will be able to vote by mail in union elections starting next year.

Under AB 2183, authored by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D- Monterey Bay, farm workers can choose to vote at a physical location or mail a representation ballot card to an Agricultural Labor Relations Board office. Newsom signed the bill at the end of September, one year after he vetoed an earlier iteration of the measure.

It was a major reversal by Newsom, whose staff had said less than a month earlier that he planned a second veto. He faced pressure from the United Farm Workers, who marched 335 miles to the Capitol, and from top Democrats including President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Also in the new year, government employers in California will face financial penalties for deterring or discouraging union activity. Under SB 931, the Public Employment Relations Board has the power to fine employers up to $100,000 if it finds that workers were prevented from participating in a union.

A First-in-the-Nation Fast-Food Council (Maybe)

A groundbreaking law establishing a fast-food regulatory council was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1 . But it now faces a potential referendum challenge backed by corporate restaurant chains like In-N-Out and Chipotle.

Gov. Newsom signed AB 257 on Labor Day. Opponents announced the referendum campaign a day later. Fast-food worker strikes followed, along with allegations that petitioners were lying to voters about what the referendum would actually do. On Dec. 5, the industry coalition submitted what they said was over one million signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for verification.

The state has yet to verify and approve the referendum for the 2024 ballot.

Millions of Californians will have access to greater paid family leave in the new year.

SB 951 extends, through 2024, temporary increases in benefits from 55 percent of wages to between 60 percent and 70 percent depending on income.

Starting in 2025, workers making under $57,000 will be eligible for the benefits between 70-90 percent of their pay. All other workers are eligible for benefits between 60-70 percent.

“California families and our state as a whole are stronger when workers have the support they need to care for themselves and their loved ones,” Newsom said in a statement after the signing.

“California created the first Paid Family Leave program in the nation 20 years ago, and today we’re taking an important step to ensure more low-wage workers, many of them women and people of color, can access the time off they’ve earned while still providing for their family.”

©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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