Changes to California Employment Laws in 2015 that Every Employer Should Know

By Jennifer A. Grady, Esq. and Gayane Khechoomian, Esq.

California-State-Capitol1The California Legislature was quite active in 2014, resulting in several substantial changes to the law for 2015 that are employee-friendly.  Employers should take note of the changes to the law described below.

I. CHANGES TO WAGE AND LABOR LAWS

1. Minimum Wage Increases

The minimum wage increased statewide, with even higher increases in particular cities:

  • California’s minimum wage of $9.00 will increase again to $10.00 on January 1, 2016;
  • San Francisco wages will increase to $11.05 on January 1, 2015; then to $12.25 in May; wages will increase every year thereafter until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 in 2018;
  • Oakland will increase to $12.25 on March 2, 2015;
  • San Diego will increase to $9.75 on January 1, 2015;
  • Note: exempt employees must meet new minimum wage laws

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AB 60 to Extend Lawful Driving Privileges to Undocumented Immigrants

© Jennifer Grady

© Jennifer Grady

On September 12, 2013, with a vote of 50 to 25, California state Legislature voted to approve bill AB60, which would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue an original driver’s license to a person who is (1) unable to submit satisfactory proof that the applicant’s presence in the United States is authorized under federal law, if he or she meets all other qualifications for licensure, and (2) provides satisfactory proof to the Department of his or her identity and California residency.  Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the measure, which will overturn a two-decade-old ban against issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who were unable to present a valid social security number (excluding certain people who qualified for federal work permits under DACA).  This measure has largely been touted as a public safety reform that would permit immigrants to drive lawfully when required to obtain necessary services, obtain auto insurance, and pass a safety exam that requires knowledge of California driving laws.  Continue reading