California employers should be aware of a number of major developments in the employment laws applicable to the second half of 2022, including:
Minimum Wage Increases
While the CA state minimum wage has adjusted annually on January 1 the last several years, many CA cities and counties increase their minimum wage each July. Below is a list of some of the cities that will see an increased minimum wage effective July 1, 2022 (this is not a comprehensive list, so please contact us if you would like our help determining the minimum wage applicable to a particular region):
- Berkeley: $16.99/hr
- City of LA: $16.04/hr
- County of LA (unincorporated areas): $15.96/hr
- Malibu: $15.96/hr
- Pasadena: $16.11/hr
- San Francisco: $16.99/hr
- Santa Monica: $15.96/hr
- **West Hollywood: $16/hr for non-hotel workers of employers with less than 50 employees; $16.50 for non-hotel workers of employers with 50+ employees
Note that employees are entitled to receive the minimum wage that is applicable to the city or county in which they work. This means that if a business is based in the City of LA for example, but several hourly employees are working from home in San Francisco, the San Francisco minimum wage would apply to those employees.
**In addition to increasing the minimum wage, the City of West Hollywood has also enacted a new ordinance effective July 1, 2022 entitling full-time employees to at least 96 hours of compensated time off work and 80 hours of uncompensated time off work per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Part-time employees are to be provided compensated and uncompensated hours in increments proportional to those accrued by full-time employees. Required posters can be found here.
IRS Mileage Rate
Many employers utilize the IRS mileage rate to reimburse employees who drive their personal vehicles for business purposes. The rate is currently 58.5 cents per mile driven and will increase to 62.5 cents per mile on July 1 through December 31, 2022.
As we shared with you in our 2021 year-end update, employers with five or more employees who do not offer their employees a retirement plan must register with CalSavers, a state-run retirement program, by June 30, 2022.
Meal and Rest Break Updates
CA law requires employers to provide most hourly employees 30-minute, uninterrupted, unpaid and duty-free meal breaks before they work more than 5 hours in the day, in addition to periodic paid, duty-free, and uninterrupted 10-minute rest breaks. Employers who do not provide employees legally compliant meal breaks are subject to a penalty equal to one hour of pay for each day that the employee is not provided legally compliant meal breaks, and a separate penalty equal to one hour of pay for each day that the employee is not provided all legally compliant rest breaks.
In a recent case, Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., the Court made two significant rulings. First, the court held that where an employer fails to pay all break penalties by the employee’s termination date, the employee can be entitled to additional penalties amounting to up to 30 days of pay. Second, the court held that meal and rest break penalties must be separately itemized on each employee’s paystubs, and the failure to do so can subject employers to penalties for non-compliant paystubs.
As a result, employers are strongly encouraged to contact experienced employment counsel if their hourly employees are not clocking out for their meal breaks consistent with the obligations above, or if they are not paying penalties for non-compliant meal or rest breaks. There are several steps employers can take to reduce their vulnerability to costly meal and rest break violation claims.
COVID rules continue to change rapidly. The latest Cal-OSHA rules regarding testing, masking, quarantine and isolation requirements, and more are available here.
In Viking River Cruises, Inc. v Moriana, the US Supreme Court issued a ruling that is considered a “win” by many employers, holding that employers can enforce arbitration agreements in CA that preclude the ability of employees to bring certain wage and hour claims against employers on a representative basis under CA’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). Linked here is an article that talks about how this complex case made its way to the Supreme Court, and what the future may hold for PAGA litigation in CA. If you have questions about the case, or if you want to discuss whether to implement an arbitration program at your business or whether changes should be made to your existing arbitration agreements in light of this case, please email us.
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The above summary has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.
Bernstein & Friedland, P.C. is a boutique employment law firm in Los Angeles specializing in wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and unpaid wage and overtime matters. Please visit our website at www.laemploymentcounsel.com to learn more about us. We are here to support you if you have questions about any of the above or any other employment related matters.