5 Employment Bills Passed by California Lawmakers in 2023

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September 14, 2023, marked the end of California’s State Legislative Session. As expected, the state legislature has passed several employment-law-related bills that will be presented to Governor Gavin Newsom for signature. He will have until October 14, 2023, to either sign or veto the bills. If passed, the bills discussed in this article will be effective from January 1, 2024.

1. Discrimination Protection for “Family Caregiver” Status

If signed into law, AB 524 would add “family caregiver” to the list of protected categories under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).  Simply put, this means that an employer will not be able to predicate any employment decisions based on the fact that an employee is a caregiver for a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, and the like.

2. Return-to-Work Notice Obligations

SB 731, if passed into law, would make it unlawful for an employer to require an employee who is working from home to return to work in person without providing at least 30 days written notice. Interestingly, this bill would also require the employer’s notice to inform the employee that he or she may request remote work as a “reasonable accommodation” for a bone fide disability or medical impairment.

3. Prohibition on Caste Discrimination

SB 403 would make California the first state to explicitly ban caste discrimination in the employment context. If passed, California employers will be required to prevent and remedy ancestry and caste discrimination occurring in the workplace. We previously published an article discussing the details of this bill.

4. Expansion of Paid Sick Leave

Currently, California employers are required to provide three days or 24 hours of paid sick leave to employees. SB 616 would increase this obligation to five days or 40 hours of paid sick leave. Not only that but SB 616 would cap the number of accrued hours to 10 days or 80 hours per year.

5. Leave for “Reproductive Loss”

SB 848 would provide up to five days of leave for a “reproductive loss event.” The law would apply to private employers with five or more employees. Eligible employees must have worked for the employer for at least 30 days.

The bill defines “reproductive loss event” to mean failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction.

The leave may be unpaid, except that an employee is entitled to use any accrued paid leave that is available to them for the reproductive loss event.

MNK Law will continue to monitor developments with respect to these new bills. For more information about the 2023 California employment bills, a comprehensive list of all the employment bills, and how they will affect your business and workplace, please contact us at info@mnklawyers.com.

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.