Here is a snapshot of the new employment laws California employers and employees need to know as they start off 2023:

Leaves of Absence

AB 1041 expands who a California employee can care for under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act (“HWHFA”). The CFRA and HWHFA currently allow employees to take leave to care for a spouse, registered domestic partner, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandchild, or sibling. As of January 1, 2023 the group of persons covered by both laws is expanded to cover leave to care for a “designated person”, which the CFRA defines as “any individual related by blood or whose association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship” and the HWHFA defines as a person identified by the employee at the time the employee requests paid sick days, subject to limitation by the employer. AB 1041 as applied to both laws permits employers to limit an employee to one designated person per 12-month period.

Bereavement Leave

Governor Newsom signed AB 1949, making bereavement leave a protected leave of absence. The law applies to all private-sector employers with five or more employees, and all public-sector employers. Here are the highlights:

  • Employees with at least 30 active days of employment may take up to five days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. A family member is defined as a spouse or child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, domestic partner, or parent-in-law;
  • The bereavement leave does not need to be taken over consecutive days, but the allotted leave must be completed within three months of the date of the family member’s death;
  • If the employer does not have a paid bereavement policy, the leave may be unpaid. An employee may use existing leave available such as vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off;
  • Employers can require documentation to substantiate the leave, such as a death certificate, a published obituary, or written verification of death, burial, or memorial services; and
  • The law prohibits employers from retaliating against the employee for requesting bereavement leave.

Pay Transparency and Pay Data Reporting

SB 1162 updates California’s already strong pay transparency laws and pay data reporting as follows:

  • Employers are required to make pay scale information available to job applicants and employees. Upon request, employers must provide a pay scale to an employee for the position the employee is working;
  • Every employer with 15 or more employees must include pay scales for all job postings, which includes the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position. SB 1162 does not limit the 15 employee threshold to California employees only;
  • SB 1162 expands the existing requirement that employers with 100 or more employees provide the California Civil Rights Department with specified EEO-1 pay data. New requirements include reporting mean and median hourly rates, and a separate second report to be provided by employers that have 100 or more employees hired through labor contractors;
  • If an employer uses a third party to announce, post, publish, or otherwise make known a job posting, the employer must provide the pay scale to the third party, who must include it in the job posting; and
  • Employers who do not comply with the new pay scale requirements may be subject to civil penalties with the California Labor Commissioner, ranging from $100 to $10,000.

Covid-19 Compliance

AB 2693 makes several changes to California’s Covid-19 notice requirements including allowing employers to provide notice of Covid-19 exposure by prominently posting a notice of the exposure in the workplace. The notice must contain the dates during which the Covid-19 case was at the worksite and must remain posted for 15 days. The new law also removes the requirement that employers report Covid-19 cases to local health departments.

Workplace Safety

SB 1044 prohibits adverse employment actions in emergency conditions as follows:

In the event of an emergency condition, SB 1044 forbids employers from taking or threatening adverse action against an employee for refusing to report to or leaving work because the employee feels unsafe, or preventing an employee from accessing their mobile or other communication device for use during emergency purposes. Employees may use their mobile or communication device to get emergency assistance, assess a situation’s safety, or communicate with someone to verify their safety;

An “emergency condition” is defined as: (1) 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 (2) an order to evacuate a workplace, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to natural disaster or a criminal act. A health pandemic is not included as an emergency condition;

The measure is not applicable to emergency conditions that no longer exist; and

When feasible, the law requires employees to notify employers in advance of the emergency condition that requires they either leave the workplace or not report to work. If unfeasible, then the employee should notify the employer as soon as possible.

AB 2068 requires employers to post Cal/OSHA workplace health and safety citation notices in multiple languages. Here are the background and specifics:

  • Currently, if the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) makes a finding that an employer violated health and safety standards or regulations, Cal/OSHA can issue a citation, which the employer is required to post at or near each place where the violation occurred or in a place readily seen by all employees;
  • AB 2068 mandates that any time a Cal/OSHA citation, special order, or action must be posted, employers must also post an employee notification prepared by Cal/OSHA;
  • Many workers speak languages other than English. AB 2068 attempts to close the language gap. The law requires employers to post the notifications in multiple languages – English and the top seven non-English languages used by limited-English-proficient adults in California, as determined by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Census, as well as Punjabi (if not already included); and
  • Cal/OSHA can enforce the posting requirement with citations and civil penalties.

Employee Privacy

At the end of 2020, California voters approved Proposition 24, known as the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”). The CPRA amended the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), with many of the changes taking effect on January 1, 2023, including the following:

  • The CCPA and CPRA offer protection of employee and business-to-business (“B2B”) personal information. The employment and B2B exemptions under the CCPA will expire on January 1, 2023. Although the CPRA extended both exemptions through the end of the year, California did not pass another extension in 2022. Therefore, beginning January 1, 2023, covered businesses will need to extend their CCPA/CPRA compliance programs to include the personal information of California employees, job applicants, and B2B contacts;
  • Employers will also have obligations with respect to their employees’ rights under the CPRA, including the right to view, access, correct, and delete their personal information, subject to a few exceptions; and
  • Employers are advised to consult with their legal counsel to confirm that they have compliant privacy policies and procedures in place for 2023.

Minimum Wage and Salary Requirement Increases

Beginning January 1, 2023, California’s minimum hourly wage will increase to $15.50. The minimum annual salary for exempt employees will increase to $64,480. The new increase applies to all employers, regardless of the number of employees. Employers are advised to check local requirements, as certain cities and counties may have higher minimum hourly wage requirements.

If you have questions about California’s new employment laws, please contact Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or, or Jodie Koo at (310) 579-9657 or, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.