Minimum Wage Increase

Gov. Brown has signed into law a measure that will increase California’s minimum wage from $8.00 per hour to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10.00 per hour on January 1, 2016. So, California employers must prepare for a 25% increase in the minimum wage over the next two years.

The California Chamber of Commerce lists the new law among its biggest “job killers,” while supporters argue that this is the first increase to California’s minimum wage since 2008.  California currently has the eighth highest minimum wage – and the fifth highest rate of unemployment at 8.9% – in the country. The increase to $9.00 per hour and then to $10.00 will likely bring California to the very top of the list, unless other states follow suit.

Paid Family Leave Expansion

Gov. Brown also signed Senate Bill 770, which expands California employees’ eligibility for paid family leave.  Previously, the California Family Rights Act permitted eligible workers to take paid leave to care for seriously ill spouses, domestic partners, children and parents.  Under the new law, eligible employees are also allowed paid leave to care for siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.

Overtime for Domestic Workers

In a development that affects even the smallest of California employers, the Governor signed another bill mandating overtime pay for domestic workers.  The new law requires that employers pay their domestic employees time and a half for each hour worked beyond nine hours in one day or 45 hours in one week.  The law applies to all employees engaged in “domestic work,” including nannies, housekeepers, and those who provide care for people with disabilities.  However, the law contains a babysitter exemption for workers who care for a child on an intermittent basis.

Each of these bills takes effect beginning January 1, 2014.