CalChamber Capitol News Report Explains Three Significant New Employment Laws

This week, the California Chamber of Commerce Capitol News Report highlighted three important new laws that employers need to be aware of in 2018: parental leave for small employers, restrictions on salary history questions, and the ban-the-box-law.

In the video, CalChamber Executive Vice President and General Counsel Erika Frank recaps the significant changes employers will see in their hiring and leave practices in 2018.

Parental Leave for Small Employers

An important new law requires that small employers provide new parents with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave.

SB 63, the New Parent Leave Act, requires small businesses with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a new child. The leave must be taken within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

“Employers need to note that under the law they must guarantee the right to reinstatement to the same or comparable position before the leave begins,” Frank says.

The New Parent Leave Act will have the greatest impact on employers with 20 to 49 employees who are not currently required to provide baby bonding leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act.

No More Salary History Questions

Another new 2018 law, AB 168, restricts the types of salary questions employers can ask job applicants.

Frank explains: “Under this law, an employer is forbidden from asking about the prior salary of an applicant. The new law also prohibits an employer from asking a recruiter to find out about the salary of an applicant.”

In addition, employers cannot rely on salary history information as a factor in determining whether to hire the applicant or how much to pay the applicant.

Ban the Box

AB 1008 is what’s commonly called the “ban-the-box” law.

“The law effectively eliminates the employer’s ability to do a criminal background check before a conditional offer is made to an applicant,” Frank explains.

AB 1008 applies to employers with five or more employees. The law does provide steps for an employer to follow after making a conditional offer, should the employer still want to know about prior convictions.

Full List of New Laws

An Overview of New 2018 Laws Affecting California Employers is now available for nonmembers to download. CalChamber members can download the white paper by logging onto HRCalifornia. Also available to CalChamber members on HRCalifornia is a full discussion of the new laws.