What Employees Need to Know About California’s 2023 Legislative Session

At Romero Law, our trusted California employment law attorneys know that with each close of the state’s legislative session comes legal changes that impact employees’ legal rights, typically starting with the new year.

California’s 2023 legislative session ended on October 14, 2023, and highlights of the new laws affecting employees in California are summarized below.

2023 Legislative Session

Increase in State Paid Sick Leave Mandate

Before the bill passed, we alerted California employees to the potential increase while it was pending. Now, it is official. Senate Bill (SB) 616 increases the paid sick leave employers must provide.

Beginning on January 1, 2024, employers must increase the amount of sick leave provided to California employees from three days/24 hours to five days/40 hours.

The law also increases the use limits each year to five days/40 hours and increases the accrual and carryover cap to 10 days/80 hours.

Reproductive Loss Leave

SB 848 requires employers with at least five employees to provide employees who have worked at least 30 days with up to five days of reproductive loss leave. It is unlawful for a covered employer to refuse to grant a covered employee five days of leave following a reproductive loss — defined as a miscarriage, failed surrogacy, stillbirth, unsuccessful “assisted reproduction,” or failed adoption.

In the event an employee suffers more than one reproductive loss within 12 months, the employer is not obligated to grant a total amount of leave over 20 days during that period.

Applicant or Employee Cannabis Use

SB 700 makes it unlawful under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) for an employer to discriminate against a job applicant based on information regarding prior use of cannabis learned from the person’s criminal history.

SB 700 does not preempt state or federal laws requiring an applicant to be tested for controlled substances. It also does not prohibit an employer from asking about an applicant’s criminal history as long as it complies with state law requirements.

Last year, the California legislature passed Assembly Bill 2188, making it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment based on:

  • A person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.
  • An employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.

AB 2188 also takes effect on January 1, 2024.

Workplace Violence Prevention Plans

SB 553 requires California employers to establish, implement, and maintain an effective workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP).

The WVPP will require the maintenance of a violent incident log, training on workplace violence hazards, and periodic plan reviews.

SB 553 will take effect on July 1, 2024, and will be enforced by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH or Cal/OSHA). It requires Cal/OSHA to propose standards for the WVPP by December 1, 2025.

Raises for Healthcare Workers

SB 525 enacts a multi-tiered statewide minimum wage schedule for healthcare workers employed by certain covered healthcare facilities. The new law establishes a comprehensive minimum wage schedule for “covered health care employees,” outlining schedules depending on how a facility is classified.

If you believe your workplace rights are being violated, contact our experienced Los Angeles County employment law attorneys to discuss your unique workplace circumstances today.

Our employment law firm and bilingual staff offer services in both English and Spanish and are available now to discuss your case during a free consultation by calling (626)-396-9900 or contacting us online.

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