Important California Laws To Know In 2021 – Part 1
A new year brings many things, including new laws in California. The following are the most interesting and broad-reaching pieces of legislation that will become effective in California in 2021.
*Expedient COVID-19 notices for employees
California AB 685 gives employees the right to expediently learn if COVID exposure has occurred in their workplace. Private and public employers who learn of possible coronavirus exposure must provide written notice within one day to all employees and employers of subcontractors who shared a worksite with the potentially infected person. All employees must also be provided with information about worker’s compensation, paid sick leave, and anti-retaliation policies.
*More hand-washing at work
AB 1867 mandates that food facility workers are allowed to leave their workstation every 30 minutes to wash their hands, or more often if necessary.
*Phasing out juvenile prisons
SB 823 becomes effective in July 2021. Youngsters who would have previously been sent to the state juvenile facilities will instead remain in local settings closer to their families and communities.
*Minimum wage increases
California continues to incrementally raise the minimum wage. It will increase to $14 per hour on January 1, 2021, for employers with 26 or more employees. Businesses with 25 or fewer employers must increase the minimum wage to $13 per hour. Currently, many California municipalities have minimum wage laws of their own so that minimum wage may be higher in a particular California location.
*Firefighting employment opportunities for former inmates
AB 2147 seeks to rectify the situation where inmate firefighters who, because of their convictions, were barred from or had difficulty finding work as firefighters after their incarceration. As a result of this Act, many have the possibility of getting their felonies expunged upon release, with the effect being that they will not have to reveal a prior felony conviction on job applications. Certain crimes, such as murder and rape, automatically disqualify a former inmate from this program.
*Further diversification of corporate boards
AB 979 previously mandated that corporate boards of publicly held companies headquartered in California must have at least one female director. This additional requirement mandates that boards must also appoint at least one director from an “underrepresented community,” that includes individuals who are Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. These publicly held companies have December 31, 2021, to fulfill this requirement.
*Reparations task force
AB 3121 requires the State of California to create a commission that will study the possibility of paying reparations for slavery. As well as reviewing and studying the issue, this commission will create proposals for possible implementation.
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