2016 California laws

Minimum Wage


In 2016, multiple states will increase their minimum wage.  They are: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  California, Massachusetts will be raised to $10.00 per hour, and Washington D.C. will be raised to $11.50.  In New York, fast food workers will be required to be paid $9.75 per hour.


Piece Rate Wages


A piece rate wage system is one where a person is paid by their results.  Under this system, workers are paid on the basis of quantity of work done, where there is a pre-determined rate. 


In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 1513 for 2016 which will make it more difficult for employers to pay wages at a piece-rate basis.


DLSE Enforcement Powers


In California under Senate Bill (SB 588), employers must now pay judgements owed to the state to the DLSE, or face the chance of heavy fines.  Wage liability now extends to owners, directors, officers, and managing agents of the entity.  A person responsible for a violation may face a fine of up to $100,000. 


Meal Periods for Healthcare Workers


Healthcare workers who work over 8 hours in a single shift have the option to waive in writing either their first or second meal period according to AB 327.


Professional Team Cheerleaders


Led by the Oakland Raiders official cheerleaders, a new law in California was signed that requires cheerleaders for professional teams to be classified as employees (AB 202).


FEHA Amendment


School Activities

SB 579 provides that employers of 25 or more employees must allow employees to take up 40 hours of time off in order to find, enroll, or re-enroll their children in a school or child care provider program. 


Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014


California has passed AB 304, which provides employers the option to use non-hourly accrual methods as an alternative to the 24 hours of sick leave by the 120th day of employment.  Originally in California, law required 1 hour for every 30 hours worked for sick leave. 


E-Verify Restrictions


California has passed AB 622, which prohibits the use of the E-Verify system to determine whether a person is legally authorized to work in the U.S. before a person has been offered the job, unless it is required by law to do so.  


Wage Garnishment

SB 501 goes into effect on July 1, 2016.  Under this law, the lower of 25 percent of disposable income or 50 percent of the amount by which


Fair Pay Act


California’s Fair Pay Act requires employers to prove that any pay gap between workers is due to factors like skill or seniority, and not gender.  It also protects workers from retaliation for asking about salary





There were amendments made to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) which was effective July 1, 2015. 


1-      Covered employers include business successors in interest.

2-      Joint employers include those operating under work-sharing agreements, and those using existing control.

3-      A fixed job location is not required.  CFRA applies if there are 50 employees within a 75 mile radius.

4-      An employee may reach 12 months of service while they are on leave.


CFRA Leave Administration


Employers must respond to leave requests in 5 business days.  Employers are also able to demonstrate fraudulent use of leave as an affirmative defense to job restoration and the employee’s health insurance.


Motor Carrier Employer Amnesty Program


AB 621 allows truck companies who do not have any pending lawsuits, to be immune from statutory and civil liability for misclassifying employees as independent contractors if the company completes a voluntary self-audit and reclassifies the workers.  The amnesty lasts until January 1, 2017.


PAGA Amendment


AB 1506 amends PAGA for employers to correct paycheck stubs that have incorrect pay periods or incorrect legal name of the employer.  The employer has the opportunity to change once every 12 months.