New California Employment Laws for 2012

Significant changes to California employment laws may have an effect on your job or your business. New employment laws in California for 2012 include:

• Employers subject to the pregnancy disability leave law must maintain and pay for group health insurance during the leave, up to 4 months in a 12-month period.

• Employers are now generally prohibited from using consumer credit reports to screen candidates for employment. Exceptions exist for employees with access to trade secrets or $10,000+ of cash of the employer, or to confidential information or $10,000+ of cash of others, executive employees, etc.

• Upon hire, an employer must now provide the employee with a written notice specifying certain information about the employer and the employee’s job, including workers’ compensation insurance carrier information.

• Penalties for willfully misclassifying workers as independent contractors instead of employees are increased (a new civil penalty of $5,000 to $15,000 per violation is added to existing penalties).

• The minimum salary for exempt computer professionals increases, as does the minimum hourly rate for physicians paid hourly.

• California now prohibits state and local governments in most instances from requiring employers to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure candidates are legally permitted to work in the United States. California employers may voluntarily choose to use E-Verify, however, and must do so if it’s a condition of the receipt of federal funds or federal law.

• If you are a San Francisco employee, your minimum wage was increased. San Francisco is the first city in the nation mandating a minimum wage greater than $10 per hour. The law was passed several years ago, but includes a mandatory adjustment each year to keep pace with inflation. The minimum wage for most California cities without a higher local rate remains at $8.00 per hour for 2012.

If you have a question regarding how these new laws impact your job or your business, give us a call.

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