New Year, New Employer Responsibilities for January 2017

Golden gateCalifornia legislators continue to create new and revise old laws.  A summary of the changes for 2017, and annual best practices recommendations, are provided below:

  1. Take note of increase to minimum wage and update in payroll/ with payroll processor
  2. Advise employees of decreased mileage reimbursement to 53.5 cents per mile
  3. Post updated federal, state, and local ordinance posters in common areas
  4. Use updated I-9 form by January 21, 2017
  5. Distribute Notice to Employee to reflect changes in wages or company polices within 7 days of the change
  6. Update Employee Handbook (annually) and conduct Performance Reviews
  7. Ensure personnel files are up to date with signed documents (including Anti-Harassment policy and Arbitration Agreement, among others)
  8. Schedule Sexual Harassment training
  1. Minimum Wage

fee-increaseAs of January 1, 2017, the minimum wage has been increased to $10.50 per hour in California for employers with 26 or more employees, and remains at $10.00 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

In addition, several cities will see an additional increase in the minimum wage.  The following is a short list of cities with more expansive minimum wages for employers of all sizes, unless otherwise noted:

  • Los Angeles: $12.00 per hour for 26+ employees; $10.50 for 25 or fewer employees
  • Oakland: $12.86 per hour
  • Palo Alto: $12.00 per hour
  • San Diego: $11.50 per hour
  • San Francisco: $13.00 per hour (increased to $14.00 on July 1, 2017)
  • San Mateo: $12.00 per hour/ $10.50 per hour for non-profits
  • Santa Monica: $12.00 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees; $10.50 for employers with 25 or fewer employees; $15.37+ consumer price index increase for hotel workers
  • West Hollywood will increase to $12.00 per hour July 1, 2017 for employers with 26+ employees
  1. Decreased Mileage Reimbursement

fewer-americans-commuting-solo-1u2as3n2-x-largeBeginning January 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates designated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are the following:

  1. 53.5 cents per mile for the use of a car, van, pickup or panel truck for business miles driven (down from 54 cents in 2016).
  2. 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes (down from 19 cents in 2016).
  3. 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (unchanged).

The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

  1. Use the Updated I-9 Form and Complete Within 3 Days of Hire

i-9The I-9 form is a mandatory form that must be completed by employers to confirm an employee’s eligibility to work legally in the United States.  This form requires government-issued identification and must be completed within 3 days of hire.  A new version of the form has been issued for 2017 and must be used by January 17, 2017.



  1. Post Updated Posters in a Visible Location/Common Areas

postersIn April 2016, regulations governing the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the California Family Rights Act were amended. Those amendments now require employers to post two amended workplace notices (the Pregnancy Disability Leave Notice A: “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee” and the California Family Rights Act Notice B: Family Care and Medical Leave and Pregnancy Disability Leave).

In addition, Employers must post the Minimum Wage and California Paid Sick Leave Poster, and a poster for city-specific paid sick leave ordinances, if applicable (for cities such as Santa Monica and Los Angeles, which provide additional days of paid sick leave depending on the number of employees). These posters should be posted in visible common areas, such as a break room or kitchen.

  1. Notice to Employee

signing documents.pexelsSection 2810.5 of the Labor Code requires that employers provide notice to employees of their rate(s) of pay, designated pay day, the employer’s intent to claim allowances (meal or lodging allowances) as part of the minimum wage, and the basis of wage payment (whether paying by hour, shift, day, week, piece, etc.), including any applicable rates for overtime. The law requires that the notice contain the employer’s “doing business as” names, and that it be provided at the time of hiring and within 7 days of a change if the change is not listed on the employee’s pay stub for the following pay period. The notice must be provided in the language the employer normally uses to communicate employment-related information to the employee, through translated notices provided by the Department of Labor.

  1. Update Employee Handbooks and Documents

employeehandbook_pop_6467It is essential that a company have a tailored, up-to-date Handbook that outlines the company’s policies, along with the relevant California leave laws.  In addition to providing this information so that everyone in the company is aware of its policies, Employee Handbooks are used as evidence in when defending a lawsuit brought by current or former employees. Employee Handbooks should be updated annually to reflect changes in company policies and the law, and the document with the signature pages must be kept in the employee’s personnel files as evidence that the employee reviewed the document.

In addition, Employers should ensure that they have signed Anti-Harassment Policies and valid Arbitration Agreements, and update their Employees’ Job Descriptions and annual Performance Reviews.  January is an excellent time to revisit these items and update them for all employees.

  1. Schedule Sexual Harassment Training

150212-sexualharassment-stockCalifornia companies with 50 or more employees are required by law to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisors within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years thereafter. However, as a best practice, it is recommend that all employees of receive sexual harassment training as a way to minimize potential incidents among employees of all ranks, regardless of the size of the company.

The Grady Firm provides on-site, classroom-style training that satisfies California’s sexual harassment training requirement.

Overwhelmed with these changes? Need assistance in navigating the maze of California Employment law?  Contact The Grady Firm for a copy of any updated forms, or for counseling and training on how to become compliant with these new laws.

In addition, The Grady Firm’s attorney assist with drafting/updating Employee Handbooks, hiring/firing, and sexual harassment and leadership training.

JGrady Firm-Logo-2016To learn more about ensuring your business is compliant with state and local laws, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys; call +1 (323) 450-9010; or fill out a Contact Request Form.

*This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.


About gradyfirm

The Grady Firm, P.C. provides exceptional legal counsel to its clients as their dedicated Immigration, Global Relocation/Expansion, and Human Resources Department. We deliver superior customer service and holistic strategies tailored to each client’s background and goals. As a truly global practice, The Grady Firm attorneys provide the business, immigration, employment counseling that American companies need to thrive, and cultural background which foreign entrepreneurs need to be successful in a new market. Our tech-savvy, multi-lingual attorneys are fluent in Spanish, Italian, German, and Farsi. They are licensed in California, and can practice immigration and intellectual property in all 50 US states. The firm serves innovative clients from around the world from its offices in Beverly Hills, Irvine, and San Diego, California. Learn more about us at

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