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New California Employment Laws for 2023


As of Jan. 1, 2023, a series of new employment laws in California are in effect. These laws expand on the rights provided to employees in California, providing an increase in the minimum wage, expanded protection against retaliation, expanded types of leave, and more.

The Minimum Wage in California Increases

The minimum wage in California rose to $15.50 on Jan. 1, 2023. All employees working for companies with 26 or more employees must be paid at least $15.50 per hour for their labor. When a company has 25 or fewer employees, however, the minimum wage is $15.

Previously, the minimum wage for most employees in California was set at $15. This was due to a law that passed in 2016, which gradually increased the state’s minimum wage until it reached that amount in 2022. Due to the increased cost of living in California and economic realities facing most minimum wage workers, however, lawmakers increased the minimum rate of pay.

Certain cities, counties, and other local municipalities may establish minimum wages exceeding $15.50 per hour. Where this is the case, employers must abide by the greater rate of pay.

The increase in minimum wage also affects the overtime eligibility for salaried employees. When an employee earning a salary doesn’t earn more than $64,480 per year, their employer must pay them 1.5 times their hourly rate for each hour worked in addition to eight in a workday or 40 hours in a work week.

Employees Protected from Retaliation in the Event of an Emergency

Under SB 1044, employers may no longer threaten employees with a reprimand or retaliate against them for leaving work or failing to report to work when the employee has a reasonable belief that the worksite is unsafe.

Expanded Bereavement Leave

AB 1949 provides employees of covered employers with up to five days of bereavement leave. As long as an employee has been employed for 30 days, they may claim this leave after the death of a family member such as a spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild. Leave must be used within three months of the deceased’s death.

Expanded Coverage for CFRA & Paid Sick Leave

AB 1041 is a bill that expands on the categories of people for whom an employee can take leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and California’s Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act (HWHFA).

When an employee wishes to take leave to care for a designated person, they can now do so for any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee equals that of a family relationship. Such leave can only be taken for one designated person in a 12-month period.

Employers Must Report Pay Data

California lawmakers also passed SB 1162, which is a bill requiring private employers with more than 100 employees to report pay data to the California Civil Rights Department on an annual basis. This data must include the average and median hourly rate for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex for each job category.

The law also requires employers to include a pay scale for a position in any job posting and the pay scale for a current employee’s position upon request from that employee.

Did Your Employer Violate Your Rights?

Your employer may have violated your rights at work. If you believe you were unfairly treated at work, you may have a legal claim. Consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can help you understand your legal options.

Our legal team at K2 Employment Law can offer the support you need during this time. We have the necessary knowledge and skill to assist you when it comes to investigating your claim and pursuing compensation for damages, such as lost wages.

Learn more during a free consultation! Contact K2 Employment Law today to get started.