Take Note… 2018 Law Changes For Your Business

December 4, 2017

You are undoubtedly looking toward 2018 and strategizing how to foster growth and continue prosperity in your business.  The Legislature and Governor have also been busy in anticipation of the new year.  And the result, like in years past, is more rules and regulations. If there’s a theme this year, I’d say it’s privacy.

To help with your preparation, here is a summary of changes coming for 2018.

A.B. 450: While most of us wouldn’t let a law enforcement officer in our home without a warrant, business owners apparently weren’t nearly as protective of business space. Under A.B. 450, business owners can now be penalized for allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to enter into a nonpublic area of a place of business without an appropriate warrant and also may face penalties for releasing employment records to ICE without a subpoena or warrant. Additionally, if an employer receives notice of a federal inspection of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records, the employer must post notice of the impending inspection in the language used to communicate with the employee.

S.B. 63: Requires that employers with 20 or more employees provide up to 12 weeks of parental leave. This is available for both parents, but if employed by the same employer leave need not be granted simultaneously to both parents and the combined leave between the two parents need not exceed 12 weeks total. During this leave period no adverse action can be taken against the employee’s position. This bill does not require additional payment of wages other than that which already exists for certain leaves of absence.

A.B. 168: During the recruiting process prospective employers frequently inquire into candidate salary history. It’s a gauge of the employee’s worth and can also provide insight on what compensation might be required to land a top candidate.  A.B. 168 takes this tool from employers who will be prohibited from such inquiry. This includes asking on an application for employment.

A.B. 1008: Like salary history, it is not uncommon for private prospective employers to inquire about criminal convictions upon application for employment.  As of 2013, all employers were prohibited from asking about criminal history where no conviction resulted.  While currently unlawful for public employers to make a criminal conviction inquiry except in certain circumstances, this bill will extend the prohibition to private employers until such time as a conditional offer for employment is made.  Once a conditional offer of employment is made, an employer can inquire into a prospective employee’s criminal background. The bill also specifically bans asking about criminal convictions on employment applications.

S.B. 306: This bill expands the Labor Commissioner’s authority to investigate suspected retaliation and discrimination claims revealed during wage claim or other investigations. For a small business, this means that the Labor Commission can inquire about, and take action upon, alleged retaliation and discrimination even if no such allegation was ever made.  This action may result in orders for the business to take.

S.B. 396: Requires that employers having 50 or more employees supplement currently mandated sexual harassment training for supervisors to include gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation training. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing will also be updating its posters regarding sexual harassment and will be also making available an information sheet on sexual harassment. Irrespective of employer size, make sure to obtain the new poster and information sheet.

A.B. 908:  Employees injured outside of work can receive partial wage replacement for up to one year while they recover. Also, workers may access this same fund for up to six weeks while either bonding with a new child or caring for a sick relative. The partial wage amount is currently set at 55% of wages. There is also currently a one-week waiting period before benefits begin. This bill provides for a higher % of wage reimbursement and also eliminates the one-week waiting period. As before, there will be reimbursement caps based on the employee’s highest quarter wages used in calculating the benefit.

Minimum wage changes: As of January 1, 2018, the minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $10.50 per hour; employers with more than 25 employees will see an increase to $11.00 per hour.

Lawvex, LLP does not warrant or represent that this list is comprehensive or legal advice. It is provided as general information only.  Should you have any questions about these changes, feel free to contact us at www.lawvex.com or dkrupens@lawvex.com.