Changes to California Employment Law in 2021

Like all laws, over time, employment laws change. In the wake of what was undoubtedly a tough year, 2021 is no exception. While both state and federal government laws govern the employer-employee relationship, California employment laws are generally more favorable to employees than federal laws. So, when state employment laws change, it is important that workers understand the changes and how they may impact their rights. Below are a few of the major changes to California employment law that have already gone into effect, or will be coming in the near future.

An Increase to the California Minimum Wage

As of January 1, 2021, California’s minimum wage increased. The state uses a tiered approach to determine the applicable minimum wage. Thus, the minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees is $13, and the minimum wage for employers with more than 26 employees is $14. This is a one-dollar increase from last year. Notably, California is unique in that some cities impose their own minimum wage laws. Employers are required to pay the highest of the applicable state, federal, or local minimum wage.

An Extension of the Statute of Limitations for Certain Employment Claims

Assembly Bill 1947 extends the amount of time that an employee has to file a complaint with the Labor Department from six months to one year. Additionally, if an employee can show “good cause,” the one-year time frame may be extended. AB 1947 also allows for the payment of attorney fees to employees who successfully bring a California employment retaliation action that falls under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner.

Important Changes to the Classification of Independent Contractors

Last year, California Voters passed AB 5, which somewhat clarified the standards used to determine whether a worker was an employee or an independent contractor. Most notably, rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, were later exempted from the requirements of AB5. However, these standards remain far from clear as they pertain to many other types of workers.

AB 2257, which went into effect in September 2020, amends some of the existing exceptions under AB5 and creates several new exceptions. AB 2257 also provides additional enforcement mechanisms for the government to pursue claims against companies that continue to mis-classify workers as independent contractors.

There are dozens of other employment law changes going into effect in 2021. Any employee with questions about an employer’s actions should reach out to a dedicated California employment law attorney.

Did Your Employer Violate Your Rights?

If you believe that your employer violated your rights, either by not paying you what you were entitled to receive, illegally firing you, or engaging in any other type of questionable conduct, reach out to The Nourmand Law Firm. Our attorneys have over 20 years of experience advising California employees, and advocating on their behalf. At The Nourmand Law Firm, we do not divide our loyalties; as we only represent employees. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with one of our dedicated California employment law attorneys, give us a call at 310-553-3600. You can also reach us through our inline form.

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