Highlights – California Employment Law Changes in 2023

california employment lawBuilding off of our last article, which dove into recent COVID-19 bills and extensions, this post offers a more exhaustive list of current and soon-to-be active California employment laws. Whether it be the constantly changing COVID-19 guidelines, new pay data reporting provisions, or new bereavement leave laws, 2022 has undoubtedly been a bottlenecked year for the California State Legislature.

Get a rundown of the employment law docket for 2022-2024, and visit my blog for more insights into this year’s newest COVID-19 laws and updates.


Newly Active CA Employment Laws


AB 152 – Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Extension

In recognizing that COVID-19 is still a present threat, AB 152 extends California SPSL to December 31, 2022. The law also allows employers to require a second COVID-19 test within no less than 24 hours of a positive test for SPSL purposes. 

California first enacted supplemental paid sick leave in early 2021 to keep employees above water during COVID-related absences. After this law ended in September 2022, a new Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (SPSL) law, SB 114, arose in February 2022. The only difference between the two laws is that SB 114 offers leave to employees whose family members are showing symptoms after taking a COVID-19 vaccine or booster.


AB 2693 – COVID Exposure Notices

Earlier this year, the passing of AB 2693 amended California Labor Code sec. 6409.6 to alter COVID-19 notification requirements. From now through January 2024, employers will have the option to post an online notice of possible COVID-19 workplace exposure rather than submitting a written notice.


AB 1751- Rebuttable Presumption

AB 1751 passed in September 2022 to extend previous legislation until January 2024. Former legislation had established a “rebuttable presumption” containing outbreak conditions that warrant a “work-related exposure” and the due SPSL that follows. It also asked employers to deliver COVID-19 case information to workers’ compensation claims administrators. These provisions are effectively extended, active immediately, until the beginning of 2024. 


CA Employment Laws Active in January 2023 and Beyond


SB 1162 – Pay Data Reporting

Going into effect in January 2023, SB 1162 expands upon a previous law to require additional pay data information from employers. Employers will soon have to include the median and mean hourly rates for each job category by race, ethnicity, and gender to penalize non-compliant employers. If an employer has 15 or more employees, they’ll be required to include pay scales in all job listings and make that information available to current employees upon their request. 

Equality through transparency is the bedrock of SB 1162, as I recently mentioned in an ABC-7 feature: “will require employers to publicize the pay scale for a particular job. So, this is part of a wave of laws we’ve seen that are designed to even the playing field when it comes to pay in the workplace.” 


SB 1044 – “Emergency Condition” Exemption

Signed by Governor Newsom in September and set to go into effect in January 2023, SB 1044 will allow employees to leave work or not attend during an “emergency condition.” The bill defines an emergency condition as “a disaster or extreme peril to the safety at the workplace caused by natural forces or a crime, or an evacuation order due to a natural disaster or crime at the workplace, an employee’s home, or their child’s school.” 

Since the law prohibits employers from retaliating against a worker for leaving work during an emergency, employees will gain new protection come January 2023.


AB 2188 – Off-Duty Marijuana Use

AB 2188 takes effect on January 1, 2024 and restricts adverse action by employers based on an employee’s off-the-clock cannabis use. It also prohibits action if a pre-employment drug test finds non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in an applicant’s blood, urine, or hair, yet employers in the building, construction, and other “essential” industries are exempt from this rule. 

Exemptions for AB 2188 would extend to employees who work in a ‘safety’ position, such as in the building and trades industry or law enforcement, a position that requires employees to have their full senses about them, which I discussed in the same ABC-7 feature.


AB 1949 – Bereavement Leave

Active in January 2024, AB 1949 requires employers with five or more employees to provide up to five days of unpaid bereavement leave for an employee within three months of their family member’s passing.


AB 257 – Fast Food Industry Regulations

AB 257, or the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act, passed the State Senate in August 2022 before crossing Newsom’s desk in September. Alongside the establishment of a Fast Food Council within the Department of Industrial Relations to represent fast food workers, the council is also given the power to raise the 2023 California minimum wage to $22 per hour. 

Signed by the governor on September 5, 2022, this law is set to go into effect by January 1, 2023. You can find my early thoughts on AB 257 in this blog post.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamangelareddockwright, LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/angelareddock, and tune in to her weekly radio show, KBLA Talk 1580’s Legal Lens with Angela Reddock-Wright each Saturday and Sunday at 11 am PST, or catch past episodes on Anchor.fm/Spotify.   You can learn more about the radio show here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/radio-show/.

Also, learn more about my book – The Workplace Transformed: 7 Crucial Lessons from the Global Pandemic – here – https://angelareddock-wright.com/book/.

For media inquiries, please reach out to monty@kwsmdigital.com.


Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator 

Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues. Furthermore, she’s been named a “Top 50 Woman Attorney” in California by Super Lawyers, a “Top California Employment Lawyer” by the Daily Journal and one of Los Angeles’ “Most Influential Minority and Women Attorneys” by the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.

Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.

For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with Angela on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.

This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.

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