EMPLOYERS 2023 – Are You Prepared?

EMPLOYERS 2023 – Are You Prepared?

Epps & Coulson, LLP wishes all of our clients a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2023.

California enacted new laws that affect employers.  We already updated you on the Minimum Wage increase [article], which increased it to $15.50/hour (or more, depending on local city and county ordinances) and $64,480 for exempt employees.  By the way, Washington state’s minimum wage at $15.74/hour is now higher than California’s.  And as for fast food workers, the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate Rules Committee are creating a “Fast Food Council” in the Department of Industrial Relations, which will set specific minimum wages, working hours, and working conditions that apply to fast food restaurants (only)

During an emergency condition, if an employee has a well-founded belief that the workplace is not safe, the employee can refuse to report to work and leave the workplace without the employer having a right to take adverse action, terminate or threaten the employee.  For an emergency condition, think conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons or property at the workplace or worksite caused by natural forces or a criminal act; or an order to evacuate a workplace, a worksite, a worker’s home, or the school of a worker’s child due to a natural disaster or a criminal act.  For all employers wanting employees to return to the office from working from home during the pandemic, please note that the pandemic is not an emergency condition under this new law.

Speaking of the pandemic, you likely recall that employers must give notice to employees for potential exposure to COVID-19, which now may be by prominently displaying for 15 days a notice in the workplace of the potential exposure stating the date(s) when the COVID infectious person was present at the workplace.  The good news is that employers are not required any more to report a COVID case to the local health department.  But, for any workplace-contracted COVID case, workers’ compensation presumption has been extended to January 1, 2024 for the employee to receive those benefits.  And, employees are entitled now to 5 days bereavement leave to be taken within 3 months of the family member’s death.  While the bereavement leave is unpaid, the employee may use vacation, paid time off, or sick leave to continue to receive compensation during the leave.

As for benefits, employers may not discriminate against an employee based on their reproductive health decisions, like a decision to use or access a particular drug, device, product, or medical service for reproductive health.  And specifically, the employer’s health plan must cover contraceptives.

For our employer clients with 100+ employees, by the 2nd Wednesday of May, please remember to submit pay data to the Civil Rights Department, an annual requirement now.  The reporting is extensive.  Let us know if we can help you.

For those employers with 15 or more employees, pay scales must be in job postings now and available to any current employee who asks.

Did you know that we have affiliate offices in New York and Connecticut, and that between us and the affiliated offices, we have attorneys admitted to practice in New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia (admission pending), Massachusetts, New Jersey, Hawaii, Oregon, Texas, European Union, England and Wales, France (Paris Bar) and Sweden?  We have you covered.  There’s much more that employers must address and Epps & Coulson, LLP can help you keep up to date on changes to the employment laws in all of the jurisdictions and keep business owners compliant to avoid being caught off guard.  Please contact dawn at dcoulson@eppscoulson.com with your questions.

Information contained in this memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is likely considered advertising.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.