In addition to your resolution to exercise more, you should make it your goal this year to ensure that your nonprofit is in compliance with the ever-changing California employment laws. To help you get started, here is a short summary of changes to current employment laws and the new employment laws applicable to employers (including nonprofits) as of January 1, 2014.
- New Protected Class. Persons who have “military or veteran status” will be a new class protected from employment discrimination.
- Protected Absences. Amendments to employment laws mandate that volunteer firefighters, reserve peace officers, and emergency rescue personnel will be entitled to temporary leaves of absence to engage in fire, law enforcement, or emergency rescue training and protects employees from discharge, discrimination, or retaliation for taking time off work to address issues related to stalking. A new law prohibits employers from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against employees who are victims of certain offenses for taking time off work to appear in a court proceeding.
- Pay for Recovery Periods. A new law requires employers to pay employees one hour of pay for not receiving a “recovery period” required by law. A recovery period is a period provided to employees to prevent heat illness. This expands the current law, which requires the hour of pay for not receiving rest or meal periods.
- Litigation. A revision to the definition of sexual harassment clarifies that employees who assert claims of sexual harassment do not need to show the harassment is motivated by sexual desire.
On the horizon is the increase of the state’s hourly minimum wage rate. Beginning July 1, 2014, it will increase by $1 to $9 per hour. Another increase of $1 per hour will be effective January 1, 2016.
Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!