5 Major Employment Bills Passed by California Lawmakers in 2022

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Wednesday, August 31, 2022, marked the end of the 2022 State Legislative Session. The 2022 employment bills passed by both the California State Assembly and California State Senate are now in the hands of Governor Gavin Newsom for signature. He will have until September 30, 2022, to either sign or veto.

Here are the 5 major employment bills that all employers should keep an eye on:

1. COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave

The COVID-19 pandemic saw California adopt requirements for employers to provide COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”) to employees who, for example, test positive for COVID-19.

The current 2022 COVID-19 SPSL law was set to expire on September 30, 2022. However, a proposal to amend AB 152 was made, which seeks to extend SPSL until December 31, 2022.

While the qualifying reasons for leave remain the same (see here), the new bill would allow the employer to require an employee to submit a second diagnostic test within no less than 24 hours after the first result. If the employee refuses a second test, the employer may decline to provide SPSL.

AB 152 also establishes a new grant program to assist qualified small businesses that are incurring SPSL costs of up to $50,000.

2.  Prohibition on Adverse Employment Action

In the event of an “emergency condition”, SB 1044 would prohibit employers from:

  1. Taking or threatening action against an employee for refusing to report to, or leaving a workplace because they feel unsafe; and
  2. Preventing an employee from accessing and using their mobile device for emergency purposes.

The bill defines “emergency condition” as:

  • Conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace caused by natural forces or a criminal act; or
  • An order to evacuate a workplace, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to a natural disaster or a criminal act.

A health pandemic is not considered an “emergency condition”.

3. Pay Data Reporting and Pay Scale Disclosures

Current California law requires employers with 100 or more employees to file pay date reports within the state.

New requirements under this year’s SB 1162 include:

  • Reporting mean and median hourly rates; and
  • For employers with 100 or more employees hired through labor contractors – providing a separate second pay data report.

Additionally, the new bill requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide a pay scale for candidates in any job postings.

4. Bereavement Leave

AB 1949 would amend the California Family Rights Act to allow employees to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member (i.e., a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law). This would apply to employers with 5 or more employees and is only available to employees who have worked for at least 30 days prior to the leave. The employer is allowed to require documentation of the death of the family member (e.g., death certificate).

This bereavement leave must be completed within 3 months of the date of death of the family member. Furthermore, if the employer does not offer paid bereavement leave, the leave may be unpaid and the employee can use other available paid time, including vacation, personal leave, accrued and sick leave, or compensatory time off.

5. Cannabis Use Protection

AB 2188 prohibits discrimination against an employee based on their use of cannabis outside of work.

However, the new bill allows employers to:

  1. Take action against a person for failing a pre-employment drug test that does “not screen for nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites”;
  2. Administer a performance-based impairment test; and
  3. Terminate an employee who is determined to be impaired by cannabis on the property or premises of employment.

The new bill does not apply to employees in building or construction trades and would not prevent state or federal laws requiring employees to be tested for controlled substances.

For more information about the 2022 California employment bills that may soon become law, 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.