New laws to affect California workers in 2019

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In California, hundreds of new laws have created big changes for workers and employers in 2019. Perhaps the most anticipated change is an increase in minimum wage, which will be $15 per hour by 2023. For companies with 26 or more employees, minimum wage will rise to $12 per hour. For those with fewer than 25 it will be $11.

Agricultural workers can expect more in their future paychecks too, as a new overtime pay law have started to phase in this year. This will guarantee time-and-a-half pay for employees working more than eight hours per day or 40 per week. Large farms have four years to fully comply while smaller ones have seven.

As a direct result of the #MeToo movement, several laws designed to protect workers from sexual misconduct and gender based discrimination have gone into effect. California now bans the use of non-disclosure agreements in these case settlements because they silence victims and hide perpetrators of these crimes. Regular sexual harassment training for almost all state employees is now mandated and publicly held companies are required to have at least one woman serving on their boards by the end of 2019.

Other notable changes affecting gender-based work issues include the addition of a third, non-binary gender choice on California driver’s licenses, which makes it easier for transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to secure and keep a job in the state. Existing protections for nursing mothers have been expanded too. Employers now have to make a reasonable effort to provide not just an area for pumping but one that is private and not in a restroom.