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New California employment laws for 2017

With the New Year comes many new and potential changes for many Californians. For many people, these changes have been anticipated for many years and are greatly appreciated. However, these new pieces of legislation may affect how some business owners are able to conduct their affairs, particularly in regard to their employees.

Of all of the legislation that was either initiated with the New Year or proposed, there are three in particular that are most likely to affect business owners. These pieces of legislation include the Opportunity to Work Act, Proposition 64 and the minimum wage increase.

The Opportunity to Work Act

There are many reasons an employer might choose to hire employees on a part-time basis instead of a full-time one. I doing so, employers would sometimes find that they would have to hire more employees instead of assigning more hours to their current part-time employees.

For the citizens of San Jose, this issue was addressed by Measure E. The measure was passed during the 2016 election cycle by public vote. It requires employers who hire 36 or more workers to offer additional hours to their current employees before hiring additional workers. However, employers are not obligated to offer employees these additional hours if it pushes them into overtime pay.

Measure E directly inspired the Opportunity to Work Act, which is essentially Measure E, but adapted to the entire state of California. The primary difference between Measure E and the Opportunity to Work Act is that the OWA reduces the amount of employees from 36 to 10.

Proposition 64

With the November election cycle, California voters approved Proposition 64. This piece of legislation allows for the legal, recreational use of marijuana. That being said, businesses will not be able to legally sell marijuana until January 1, 2018.

This impacts employers in that they will have to take measures to clarify and explain their marijuana policies to their employees. Additionally, this may complicate drug testing. If an employee causes or is involved in a work-related accident and intoxicants are thought to have been a factor, many employees will have their worker take a drug test.

While alcohol can be quickly measured in a person, traces of THC (the psychoactive agent in marijuana) may linger in the body for up to a month, making it difficult to tell if marijuana use contributed to an accident.

Minimum wage increase

If you own a business, you have most likely heard that the California state minimum wage will be increasing every year until it reaches $15.00. For employers with 25 employees or less, the wage increases as follows,

· 2017 - $10.00

· 2018 - $10.50

· 2019 - $11.00

· 2020 - $12.00

· 2021 - $13.00

· 2022 - $14.00

· 2013 - $15.00

For employers with 26 employees or more, the wage increases as follows,

· 2017 - $10.50

· 2018 - $11.00

· 2019 - $12.00

· 2020 - $13.00

· 2021 - $14.00

· 2020 - $15.00

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