California Labor Law Changes Impacting Employers in 2013

In 2013, a number of changes in California’s labor laws will affect employers across the state.  While there are numerous laws that are changing, here are a few of the highlights:

Social Media and Personal Passwords

Assembly Bill 1844 prohibits employers from asking job applicants to hand over their personal social media account information, including usernames and passwords.  In addition, employers may not ask employees or applicants to divulge personal social media information except in limited circumstances, such as during an investigation.  Employers are expected to update their employee handbooks to inform employees of these new legal protections.

Itemized Wage Statements

SB 1255 and AB 1744 made several changes to California laws that govern itemized wage statements, found in Section 226 of the California Labor Code.  For instance, the changes clarify that a “copy” of an itemized wage statement may be an electronic record, instead of an actual duplicate or a paper copy. Employers are still required to keep itemized wage statement records for at least three years.

In addition, starting January 1, 2013, temporary services employers must give temporary employees the same wage Theft Notice and contact information given to new employees.  Starting July 1, 2013, temporary services employers must also include the rate of pay and hours worked for each temporary services assignment on the temporary worker’s wage statement.

Penalties for Wage Statement Violations

Section 226 of the California Labor Code requires employers to provide certain information on employee wage statements every time an employee is paid.  If an employer knowingly or intentionally violates these rules, an employee who suffers an “injury” as a result may seek damages against the employer.  The change that takes effect in 2013 clarifies the definition of “injury” for employees seeking to hold employers liable for wage statement violations.

Unemployment Insurance Overpayment and Penalties

Beginning October 22, 2013, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) will be able to deny reimbursements if an employer overpays to the unemployment insurance reserve account, if the EDD determines that the overpayment was caused by an employer’s failure to give the EDD adequate information or to respond to a request for information.

Many other changes in California business and labor law also go into effect in 2013. Because each business may be affected by a slightly different combination of the new rules, it’s important for every California employer to stay up to date on the legal changes and implement them effectively.  The California Chamber of Commerce has more information on the new laws, but feel free to get in touch with our California recruiting experts as well.