California dentists will comply with a dozen new employment laws beginning in 2023
A new year always brings new laws for employers in California, and 2023 is no exception for dental practices. State laws run the gamut of employment concerns, from a new requirement to include pay scales for positions in job postings to a law protecting workers who refuse to report to work during emergency conditions.
Many laws went into effect on January 1, while others allow employers a grace period to fully comply. Some laws extend requirements that were set to expire in December 2022, such as extending current wage replacement rates for the Paid Family Leave and State Disability Insurance programs in California.
Some laws affect employers of all sizes, while others, such as the requirement to include pay scales in job postings, affect employers who have a certain number of employees.
Employers facing increased business costs due to compliance with required paid family leave may find relief through a new grant program.
Read on for an overview of labor laws. CDA last year published detailed information about many of these laws to help members anticipate compliance.
Extended Paid Family Leave and State Disability Benefits
Legislation signed into law last fall extends current wage replacement rates for California’s paid family leave and state disability insurance programs, which were scheduled to expire at the end of 2023, and will increase PFL rates and SDI to 90% for low-wage workers (compared to 70%) and 70% for all other wage earners starting January 1, 2025.
A grant program launched last year can help qualifying small businesses offset costs incurred when an employee is out on leave, such as cross-training existing staff or hiring and training employees. The California Paid Family Leave Grant offers eligible businesses grants of up to $2,000 per employee in PFL. As of the publication date of this article, funding is not available, but businesses are encouraged to review the eligibility requirements and sign up for the waiting list. The grant period ends on May 31, 2024 or when funds run out.
Employees are entitled to five days of protected bereavement leave
Employers with five or more employees are required from January 1 to provide employees with at least five days of unpaid bereavement leave for the death of a family member, including a domestic partner or extended family member. Employees are entitled to leave if they have been employed for at least 30 days before the start of their leave. Read the CDA article for more details. CDA members can also log in to use the new sample death loss policy.
Workers can now take PSL and CRFA to look after a ‘specified person’
As of January 1, employees can take paid California or California Family Rights Act leave (unpaid) to care for a “specified person” who will be identified by the employee at the time they ask for permission. Employers can limit the employee to a specific person for 12 months. Employers are now required to provide PSL and CFRA leave for the care of eligible family members such as a child, parent, spouse or registered domestic partner. Get more details in the CDA article. CDA also offers member-only resources on CFRA and Paid Sick Leave.
Reproductive health decision-making now a protected class
The Contraceptive Equity Act of 2022 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to make it illegal to discriminate against or retaliate against an employee or job applicant based on their “reproductive health decision-making,” which includes a decision to used or accessed a certain drug. reproductive health medical device, product or service. Employers may not require a job applicant to disclose information about their reproductive health decision-making as a condition of employment or continued employment. The requirement went into effect on January 1 and applies to employers of all sizes. Other provisions of the new law do not apply to dental practices.
Legal protection for workers during emergency conditions
A new state law prohibits employers from taking or threatening retaliatory action against qualified employees who leave or refuse to report to the workplace because of a qualifying evacuation order or if the workplace is in an emergency-affected area and the employee has a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe. The law came into effect on January 1 and only exempts certain workers, such as the first employees. Get the details in the CDA article.
Increased mileage reimbursement rate for business use
As of Jan. 1, the standard mileage rate for using a vehicle for business use is now 65.5 cents — 3 cents more than the previous rate in place July-December 2022. The mileage rate for charities remains at 14 cents. Read more in the IRS news release.
Increase in the state minimum wage for all employers
California’s minimum wage increased Jan. 1 to $15.50 for employers of all sizes as a result of inflation, as a CDA article published last year explains. However, some cities and counties have minimum wages or “living wages” that are higher than the state minimum wage, and employers must pay the higher wage. The minimum wage for exempt employees is $64,480. CDA members can log in to view a list of minimum wage resources and paid sick leave ordinances by city and county.
Extends the presumption of COVID-19 workers’ compensation
Legislation signed into law last fall extended by a year the controversial presumption of workers’ compensation for workers who contract COVID-19 under certain conditions. The presumption, as created in 2020, was supposed to expire on January 1, but will now expire on January 1, 2024. As part of this law, employers with five or more employees are required to report cases of COVID-19 for compensation. to their carrier workers, as CDA first reported in September 2020.
The notification requirement for COVID-19 has been extended
It also extends until January 1, 2024, the requirement that all California employers notify employees of a potential workplace exposure to COVID-19 within one workday for a 15-day period. The CDA has a sample notice that describes all the information the notice must contain. (Resources related to COVID-19 are open to all dentists, including non-members.)
The new law also removed the requirement that employers report cases of COVID-19 to their local health departments. Instead, large explosions are reported to Cal/OSHA.
Salary scales must be provided in job postings
California employers with 15 or more employees are required beginning Jan. 1 to include position salary scales in any job posting or advertisement and to provide the salary scale to any third party the employer uses to advertise the position. Also, according to the new law, the employer must provide, if requested by the employee, the salary scale for the employee’s current position. A CDA article published last November explains more, including maintaining required records.
Off-duty cannabis use is now a protected class
Beginning January 1, 2024, most employers will be prohibited from discriminating against an employee or job applicant based on the person’s use of cannabis outside of the workplace and away from the workplace. Employers will still be able to conduct pre-employment drug testing, and an employer can refuse to hire someone based on a valid pre-employment drug screen that does not screen for non-psychoactive metabolites of cannabis. Although it was passed last year, the delayed implementation date of the law gives employers time to update or create drug testing policies. Learn more in the CDA article.
The CalSavers retirement savings program extends to all businesses
Employers that have five to 50 employees and do not sponsor a retirement plan are already required by state law to provide CalSavers participation for their workers. A new law requires employers with one to four employees to either establish a payroll deposit retirement savings program or enroll their workers in CalSavers no later than December 2025. CalSavers is the state’s voluntary retirement savings program. retirement Roth IRA for workers who do not have access to a retirement plan at work. Get all the details in the CDA article or register your business for CalSavers now.
Payroll rounding practices under scrutiny
Finally, although it is not a new law, employers must ensure that they are compensating non-exempt employees for each minute worked, which should be interpreted to include performing any work essential to the performance of the employee’s job duties, such as starting and turning on a computer completely. .
A California court recently ruled that starting up computers or preparing equipment needed to perform key activities was “integral and necessary to the job” and therefore compensable, an article from SHRM explains. Other courts have ruled similarly.
Use CDA resources, keep track of compliance deadlines
CDA members can track more compliance deadlines and find dozens of examples of policies, forms, templates and other resources to help them comply with laws and regulations.