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2021: A Basic Overview

The new year is upon us and like usual new years bring new changes.

While the full list may seem a little daunting here are a few key changes that may affect you.

COVID-19 Regulations

Throughout this last year a number of new regulations regarding the global pandemic have been implemented worldwide we have seen several enacted in the state of California here are some that are here to stay, or are being expanded.

AB 685 (COVID Reporting): private and public employers who receive notice of a potential exposure to COVID-19 must do the following within one business day:

1. Provide written notice to all employees and union representatives within the infectious period that they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

2. Provide all employees who may have been exposed and their exclusive representative, if any, with information regarding COVID-19-related benefits to which they may be entitled

3. Provide notice to all employees, and the exclusive representative, of the disinfection and safety plan that the employer plans to implement and complete, per CDC guidelines.

Note* The written notice provided to employees may include, but is not limited to, personal service, email or text message.

SB 1159 (COVID Workers’ Comp Coverage): Effective January 1, 2021, most employers in California will now have to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave to employees for qualifying reasons. Group health benefits must be continued on the same terms as if the employee was actively reporting to work during a covered leave, and reinstatement to the same or comparable position upon timely return from leave generally must be guaranteed.

AB 2017 (Kin Care Leave): Existing law, Labor Code 233, provides that employees must be permitted to use at least half of their annual accrual of employer-provided sick leave for “kin care” (family) reasons. This bill amends the law to provide that it is up to the employee’s “sole discretion” to designate leave to use for this purpose.

Minimum Wage: Finally, employers should make sure that they are in compliance with state and local minimum wage laws. On January 1, 2021, the state minimum wage goes up to $14 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees ($13 an hour for employers with fewer than 26 employees).