Minimum Wage Up, Workers Comp Expand

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It is imperative that businesses will have to make adjustments to the changing labor laws for 2017 to avoid sanctions.
It is imperative that businesses will have to make adjustments to the changing labor laws for 2017 to avoid sanctions.

Business owners are encouraged to learn about the major changes to California’s labor laws. About 20 laws are changing for 2017.

◇ Minimum wage
The passage of California’s minimum wage increase bill (SB 3) will mean that every employee is due to earn $10.50 an hour from January 2017. The figure will then rise to $11 an hour in 2018 throughout California. For Los Angeles, in particular, the county government requires a business with at least 26 employees to start paying $12 per hour starting in January 2017.

◇ Expansion of workers compensation
From 2017, workers compensation will cover members of companies in partnership with other businesses as well thanks to AB 2883. The only applicable employees who are exempt from the changed workers compensation are the ones who voluntarily complete waivers on their own.

◇ Retirement package for employees
Employers without 401(k) for their employees now must provide Secure Choice Retirement Savings Plan or another form of in-house retirement package. This rule applies to businesses with at least five employees. Employees can now choose as low as 3 percent to as high as 8 percent of their wages to be invested into their retirement plan.

◇ Clampdown on wage theft
The government will tighten up its monitoring of wage thefts from 2017 thanks to SB 1342. County supervisors and the city councils now have subpoena authority to investigate the potential wage thefts among their employees. Hence, county and city employees also have the legal right to request their time card details and wage bill.

This law also enables county or city government to collaborate with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to investigate wage theft cases.
Additionally, the labor department now has the right to carry out investigation duties even without an employees’ claim and fine or file a lawsuit against employers who have not been lawfully paying their employees.

◇ Rights of barbering and cosmetology businesses
Following AB 2437, barbershops and beauty salons now have to post employees’ rights and wage laws in their businesses starting January 2017. AB 2025 also stipulates that affected businesses will receive written details of the changed labor laws in various languages including Korean, English, Spanish and Vietnamese from July 1, 2017.

By Sung Cheol Jin

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