A host of new laws changing significant aspects of employment law went into effect this year in California. Of particular importance are amendments made to the laws regarding mandatory paid sick leave, joint liability for independent contractors, and sexual harassment training provided to supervisors.

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

One of the new laws creates new requirements for employers regarding sick leave. The statute requires employers to provide mandatory paid sick leave to any employee who works for a minimum of 30 days a year. It applies across the board to full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees.

In particular, employers are directed to allow employees to accrue paid sick leave at a rate of at least one hour for every 30 hours of work. However, employers are permitted to limit their employees’ use of paid sick leave to 24 hours, or three days, during the year of employment. Employers can also allow sick leave to carry over to the following year, or can choose to pay any accrued sick leave with an annual lump sum.

Joint Liability for Independent Contractors

The second new law requires that employers who hire independent contractor workers be jointly liable with the contractor for workers’ wages and workers’ compensation insurance. The independent contract workers must be engaged in the employer’s usual course of business, which is defined as “the regular and customary work of a business, performed within or upon the premises or worksite of the client employer.”

If an employer has a total workforce of 25 or fewer employees, including its own workers as well as independent contractors, then the law does not apply. Further, unless the independent contractor supplies the employer with at least six workers, the law does not apply.

Abusive Conduct Training

The third new employment law expands the required sexual harassment training that must be provided to supervisors by employers with 50 or more employees. Employers are now required to provide supervisors with training on abusive conduct as well as on sexual harassment. Abusive conduct is defined as actions that are hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the employer’s business. Examples of abusive conduct include:

  • Repeated infliction of verbal abuse;
  • Verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would find threatening, intimidating, or humiliating; and
  • Sabotage of a person’s work performance.

A single act is not considered abusive conduct unless it was especially severe. The abuse and harassment training must be provided within six months of an employee becoming a supervisor, and must be renewed every two years.

If you are an employer or an employee and want to know how the new employment laws will affect your rights, please contact us or call 408-779-4700 for a free 20-minute consultation with a skilled Morgan Hill business law attorney at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, in Morgan Hill, San Jose or Fremont.

Posted in Employment Law

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