2023 Employment Law Changes

March 24, 2023

By Alese Lesser Rajaniemi, Employment and Litigation Attorney

This year started off rocky for many, as the result of mass layoffs across industries. However, 2023 also brought some changes in employment laws that provide additional protections to employees. Below are several new employment law changes and a brief explanation for what each means for California employees and employers. 

California Minimum Wage Increased and Made Consistent Across the Board

Historically, the  minimum wage in California would differ between  employers with 25 or less employees and those with more than 26 employees. The latter having a 2021 minimum wage of $15.00/hour, and the former at $14.00/hour. Now, the state minimum wage has been increased to $15.50/hour for all employees regardless of employer staff size. . Some cities and counties set  their own minimum wage rate that is higher than the state minimum, but none can be lower. 

Pregnant and Nursing Mother Employees Entitled to Additional Protections

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act) require employers to provide additional protections to pregnant and nursing women. PWFA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees who are limited from pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. An employer cannot retaliate against an employee who requires reasonable accommodation. The PUMP Act expands on the rights granted in the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law. It Includes additional classifications of workers and grants the right to receive break time and a private space to express milk while nursing. 

Employees Entitled to Five Days of Bereavement Leave

Employers with five  or more employees are now required to grant an employee’s request for leave up to five  days following the death of a spouse, parent, parent-in-law, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner. The unpaid leave is not required to be consecutive and can be taken within three months of the death.

Employers Required to Disclose Payscale to Position Applicants and Current Employees

To prevent illegal pay discrimination, employers with 15 or more employees must now disclose  a pay scale for any advertisement for a position. Employers must also provide pay scale information to current employees and maintain employee records related to payment history throughout an employee’s term and three-years following a separation.

Employees Given the Protected Right to Leave the Workplace or Not Report to Work if the Area is Affected by an Emergency Situation 

Employers must allow employees to leave a work area or not report to work during an emergency situation, such as a natural disaster or an active shooter.  Employees are also entitled to access their cell phones or other communication devices while the emergency condition is ongoing.

Keeping Up with the Latest Changes in California Employment Law

These new changes in employment laws provide additional protections for California employees and help to ensure fair treatment in the workplace. As an employee, it’s important to be aware of your rights and to speak up if you feel that those rights have been violated. If you have questions about these new changes or need help with an employment issue, we encourage you to consult with an attorney.

Please Note: This document does not constitute legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice on what to do in a particular situation.


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