California has introduced several new employment laws in 2024 that significantly impact businesses and employees.

This comprehensive guide provides an overview of the key changes, their implications, and practical tips for compliance.

Key Changes In California Employment Laws

1. Increased Minimum Wage

California’s minimum wage has been raised to address the high cost of living and economic inequality.

  • New Rates:
    • $16 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.
    • $15 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.

2. Expanded Paid Family Leave

The Paid Family Leave (PFL) program has been expanded to provide more support for employees balancing work and family responsibilities.

Paid Family Leave
  • Eligibility: Employees can now take up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
  • Coverage: Includes caring for a seriously ill family member, bonding with a new child, and military exigency.

3. Anti-Discrimination Protections

New laws have been enacted to strengthen anti-discrimination protections in the workplace.

  • Protected Classes: Expanded to include gender identity, gender expression, and natural hairstyle.
  • Harassment Training: Mandatory training requirements for all employees, not just supervisors.

4. Workplace Safety Regulations

Enhanced workplace safety regulations aim to protect employees from health hazards.

  • Heat Illness Prevention: Updated guidelines for industries like agriculture and construction.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Employers must have comprehensive emergency plans in place.

5. Changes To Independent Contractor Classification

Adjustments have been made to the classification of independent contractors under AB 5.

  • ABC Test: Stricter criteria to determine independent contractor status.
  • Exemptions: Additional professions added to the list of exemptions.

Practical Tips For Employers

Understanding The New Minimum Wage Requirements

  • Adjust Payroll: Ensure payroll systems are updated to reflect the new rates.
  • Budgeting: Adjust budgets to account for increased labor costs.
  • Communication: Inform employees about the wage increase.

Complying With Expanded Paid Family Leave

  • Policy Updates: Revise leave policies to align with new regulations.
  • Employee Communication: Educate employees about their rights and the process for requesting leave.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records of leave taken to ensure compliance.

Enhancing Anti-Discrimination Measures

  • Training Programs: Implement comprehensive training for all employees.
  • Policy Reviews: Update anti-discrimination and harassment policies.
  • Reporting Mechanisms: Establish clear procedures for reporting and addressing complaints.

Ensuring Workplace Safety

  • Risk Assessments: Conduct regular risk assessments and update safety protocols.
  • Employee Training: Provide ongoing training on safety procedures and emergency preparedness.
  • Compliance Audits: Perform regular audits to ensure compliance with new regulations.

Navigating Independent Contractor Classification

  • Review Contracts: Evaluate current contracts to ensure they meet the ABC test criteria.
  • Consult Legal Experts: Seek legal advice to navigate the complexities of AB 5.
  • Reclassification: Consider reclassifying workers if necessary and provide appropriate benefits.
Increased Minimum Wage

Detailed Overview Of The 2024 Employment Laws

Increased Minimum Wage

The new minimum wage law is a response to the rising cost of living in California. Employers need to adjust their payroll systems and budgets accordingly.

The increase aims to improve the standard of living for low-wage workers and reduce income inequality.

Table: New Minimum Wage Rates

Employer SizeMinimum Wage (per hour)
26 or more employees$16.00
25 or fewer employees$15.00

Expanded Paid Family Leave

The expansion of the Paid Family Leave program allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave.

This change helps employees balance work and family responsibilities, providing financial support during crucial times.

Benefits of Expanded Paid Family Leave

  • Increased Employee Satisfaction: Employees feel valued and supported.
  • Reduced Turnover: Employees are more likely to return to work after taking leave.
  • Improved Productivity: Employees are less stressed and more focused.

Anti-Discrimination Protections

The new anti-discrimination laws are designed to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Employers must ensure that their policies and practices align with these protections.

Steps to Enhance Anti-Discrimination Measures

  1. Conduct Training: Regular training sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  2. Update Policies: Revise policies to explicitly include new protected classes.
  3. Monitor and Report: Implement systems to monitor and report incidents of discrimination and harassment.

Workplace Safety Regulations

The updated workplace safety regulations emphasize the importance of protecting employees from health hazards. Employers must implement comprehensive safety protocols and emergency preparedness plans.

Key Areas of Focus

  • Heat Illness Prevention: Ensuring access to water, shade, and rest breaks for outdoor workers.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Developing evacuation plans and conducting regular drills.
  • Health Monitoring: Regular health check-ups and monitoring of workplace conditions.

Independent Contractor Classification

The changes to independent contractor classification under AB 5 aim to prevent the misclassification of workers and ensure they receive appropriate benefits and protections.

Understanding The ABC Test

To classify a worker as an independent contractor, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Autonomy: The worker must be free from control and direction in the performance of their work.
  2. Business Uniqueness: The work performed must be outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. Independence: The worker must be engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business.

Additional Exemptions

The new laws have added more professions to the list of exemptions, allowing certain workers to maintain their independent contractor status. Employers should review these exemptions to ensure compliance.


The new employment laws in California for 2024 bring significant changes that employers must address to ensure compliance and foster a positive workplace environment.

By understanding and implementing these changes, businesses can support their employees, avoid legal pitfalls, and create a more equitable and safe work environment.

Employers should stay informed, seek legal advice when necessary, and continuously review and update their policies and practices to align with the latest regulations.