The following changes to California employment law take effect on January 1, 2023.

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH DECISIONS Reproductive health decisions will be added to the list of protected characteristics under California’s antidiscrimination law, which applies to employers that regularly employ five or more employees (regardless of location). EE HANDBOOKS MUST BE CHANGED TO REFLECT, Effective 1/1/23

BEREAVEMENT LEAVE Employers that have five or more employees will be required to provide employees with up to five days of bereavement leave for the death of a family member. Family member is defined as a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law. The law doesn’t allow employers to cap how many times an employee can take bereavement leave. To be entitled to bereavement leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 30 days before taking leave. The days of leave don’t have to be consecutive but must be taken within three months of the family member’s death. The leave can be unpaid. If you have a bereavement policy that provides for less than five days of paid leave, the remaining days can be unpaid. Salaried exempt employees must be paid in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and California wage and hour law. Employers can require the employee to provide documentation to verify their need for leave, such as a published obituary. Employers must keep information regarding an employee’s use of bereavement leave confidential. Bereavement leave is a new leave entitlement and is separate from leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA).


CFRA AND PAID SICK LEAVE EXPANDED TO COVER A “DESIGNATED PERSON” Employees will be able to take leave under the paid sick leave law and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to care for a designated person. For both laws, the employer can limit each employee to choosing one designated person per 12-month period. For CFRA, the designated person needs to have a serious health condition and can be anyone who the employee is either related to by blood or has a close association with that is equivalent to a family relationship. For paid sick leave, the employee can choose anyone as their designated person. Paid sick leave applies to employers of all sizes. CFRA applies to employers that have five or more employees. EE HANDBOOKS MUST BE CHANGED TO REFLECT, Effective 1/1/23

EMPLOYEE RIGHTS DURING EMERGENCY CONDITIONS Employees will be entitled to leave work or not come in during emergency conditions if they have a reasonable belief that the workplace is unsafe. You can require employees to provide notice in advance when feasible or, if advance notice isn’t feasible, as soon as possible. This new law specifically entitles employees to use their cell phones or other devices to get emergency assistance, communicate with someone to make sure they’re safe, or assess the safety of a situation during an emergency condition. An emergency condition means either:

  • A condition of disaster or extreme peril to people or property at work caused by natural forces or a criminal act; or
  • An order to evacuate from work, the employee’s home, or the employee’s child’s school because of a natural disaster or a criminal act.

A health pandemic does not qualify as an emergency condition. Several types of employees are exempt, such as first responders and employees of licensed residential care facilities. Action Item Review your attendance policy and, if it requires advance notice for absences, add an exception when advance notice isn’t feasible because of emergency conditions. LIMITS ON TRACKING EMPLOYEES’ DIGITAL LICENSE PLATES A new law that will allow drivers in California to sport digital license plates equipped with GPS has a limitation that could affect employers. Specifically, employers will be allowed to use a vehicle’s digital license plate to electronically track employees only during work hours and only if “strictly necessary” to perform their job duties. Employers that use tracking devices on employees’ vehicles must provide advance notice, which needs to include:

  • A description of the activities that will be monitored
  • A description of the employee data that will be collected
  • A statement of whether the data will be used for any employment-related decisions and, if so, associated benchmarks
  • A description and name of vendors or others that will have access to the data collected and why, if applicable
  • A list of the job titles with access to the data collected
  • A description of the dates, times, and frequency that monitoring will occur
  • A description of where and how long the data will be stored
  • A statement that the employee has the right to disable monitoring, including vehicle location technology, outside of work hours

MINIMUM WAGES AND SALARIES Statewide Minimum Wage California’s minimum wage for all employers regardless of size will increase to $15.50 per hour. This is a change from the increase that was previously scheduled because of a provision in the law that is triggered when inflation is above 7%.

Exempt Employee Minimum Salaries and Wages The minimum salary threshold for exempt employees will increase to $1,240 per week ($64,480 per year) for employers regardless of their employee count. The minimum hourly rate for exempt computer software employees will increase to $53.80 per hour (or an annual salary of $112,065.20). The minimum rate for exempt licensed physicians and surgeons paid on an hourly basis will increase to $97.99 per hour.

Local Minimum Wages The hourly minimum wage will also increase in the following cities:

Belmont: $16.75

Burlingame: $16.47

Cupertino: $17.20

Daly City: $16.07

East Palo Alto: $16.50

El Cerrito: $17.35

Foster City: $16.50

Half Moon Bay: $16.45

Hayward (25 or fewer employees): $15.50 (state rate) Hayward (26 or more employees): $16.34

Los Altos: $17.20

Menlo Park: $16.20

Mountain View: $18.15

Novato (25 or fewer employees): $15.53 Novato (26–99 employees): $16.07 Novato (100 or more employees): $16.32

Oakland: $15.97 Oakland (hotels with health benefits): $17.37 Oakland (hotels without health benefits): $23.15

Palo Alto: $17.25

Petaluma: $17.06

Redwood City: $17.00

Richmond (with benefits): $15.50 (state rate) Richmond (without benefits): $16.17

San Carlos: $16.32

San Diego: $16.30

San José: $17.00

San Mateo City: $16.75

Santa Clara: $17.20

Santa Rosa: $17.06

Sonoma City (25 or fewer employees): $16.00 Sonoma City (26 or more employees): $17.00

South San Francisco: $16.70

Sunnyvale: $17.95

West Hollywood (hotels): $18.35 (no change) West Hollywood (49 or fewer employees): $17.00 West Hollywood (50 or more employees): $17.50