The year 2022 is fast approaching. A number of new laws affecting large California employers are set to go into effect. If your business is not up to date on these changes, you could expose yourself to potentially expensive legal complaints from your workforce.
Fortunately, you still have time to consult with your legal counsel before your employment policies fall out of date. Here are four steps you should consider to align with upcoming changes to employment law.
Update your employee handbooks
As of January 1, parents-in-law will count as blood parents when it comes to qualifying for parental leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). All employers with at least five employees must provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave in a 12-month period when a worker requests it for certain reasons.
Adjust exempt employee wages to comply with new minimum wage
The minimum wage in California is set to increase to $14 per hour in the new year. Even if your company’s standard wages are already above that level, you may need to increase your non-exempt workers’ pay to ensure you can still classify them as non-exempt. For a large employer of more than 25 workers, this requires you to pay them at least $1,200 per week, or $62,400 per year.
Make sure severance agreements are in compliance
A law known as the “Silence No More Act” will impact severance agreements and settlement agreements entered into on or after the start of 2022. It prohibits settlement agreements filed in a “civil action” or complaints filed in an “administrative action” from preventing the disclosure of facts related to the claim. Nor will employers be allowed to require an employee to sign an agreement that would restrict the employee’s ability to disclose information about illegal workplace conduct. There are further changes to what is allowed in a severance agreement that your counsel can discuss with you.
Start getting ready for the new payroll reporting requirements
This one starts a bit later, but it is important to get started now. By March 31, all employers in California will need to report certain payroll information to the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Getting started now should give businesses enough time to finish collecting data by the deadline.