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Employee Benefit Services

2018 California Employment Law Changes

Expanding Parental Leave to Small Employers
Effective January 1, 2018, new legislation will expand parental leave benefits to employers with 20 or more employees. The new law will require businesses with 20-49 employees (currently 50 employees) within a 75-mile radius to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees after the birth of a child, adoption, or foster care placement.

An eligible employee is one who has worked for the employer for at least 12 months (does not need to be consecutive), worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the use of leave, and who works at a worksite with 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius.

Under this bill, employers must guarantee employment in the same or comparable position upon conclusion of the leave. While otherwise unpaid, the new legislation would require employers to maintain an employee’s medical benefits during the leave. Employees may use accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, or other accrued time off during the parental leave.

Past Salary Off-limits to Employers
Effective January 1, 2018, AB168 (Labor Code Section 432.3) prohibits employers from asking job candidates about the compensation and benefits the candidate earned at his/her prior position(s). Additionally, employers may not rely on the salary history information in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant. Further, upon request, an employer shall provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant. However, a candidate may still voluntarily disclose his/her salary history, so long as it is done without prompting or encouragement from the potential employer, and an employer may still ask what compensation and benefits the applicant is seeking. If disclosed voluntarily, the law does not prohibit the employer from considering the voluntarily disclosed salary history information.

The law will have a significant practical impact for employers. Employers will need to update employment applications to remove questions regarding salary history or benefits information; however, asking for the applicant’s “desired pay” is still permissible. Individuals who conduct hiring interviews of applicants should be trained on the new law. Employers should consider establishing pay ranges for each position based on lawful, non-discriminatory factors and be prepared to respond to applicants who request the pay scale for a position.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Eileen Harris at or 844.4WINDES (844.494.6337).
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