My December routine is pretty predictable…sitting by the fire with my favorite holiday season beverage and my laptop fully charged to update employment handbooks and forms for the new year.  As an employment law policy and counseling specialist, I’m working on handbook number seven so far this month and thought I would share some of my specific updates with you.


  1.  Paid Sick Leave
    Though Los Angeles City Paid Sick Leave went into effect July 1, 2016, there are many employers without compliant policies.  The LA Ordinance doubles CA state-mandated sick pay but does not apply to exempt employees, like the state law does.  Additionally, the LA Ordinance regulations say that if an employer has a more generous PTO policy in existence, the City may deem the employer compliant.  The issue that I’m seeing is that many employer PTO policies exclude part-timers so there is a gap in compliance with respect to those part-timers who may be entitled to accrue more paid sick leave under the LA Ordinance than under the state law.
  2. Harassment
    We’ve said it before, but the “new” DFEH regulations went into effect April 1, 2016.  Most policies generally need a few small tweaks to be compliant, as detailed here.
  3. Fair Pay
    Though it only went into effect a year ago, there are two notable amendments in SB 1063 to the California Fair Pay Act that should be reflected in your policies.  The first amendment mandates that employees of different races or ethnicities be paid the same for performing “substantially similar” work. The other amendment forbids employers from relying on an employee’s salary history alone as justification for a pay gap between employees.
  4. Defend Trade Secrets Act
    New requirements for Confidentiality and Non-disclosure agreements and policies took effect earlier this year as we detailed in this Client Alert.
  5. Domestic Violence Notice
    Expanded protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking take effect in 2017. The amended law requires employers to inform each employee of his or her rights established under the law by providing specific information in writing to new employees upon hire and to other employees upon request. Employers will not be required to distribute this information until the labor commissioner publishes the form employers will be able to use to comply with the law, which should happen no later than July 1, 2017.
  6. Wage Theft Prevention
    If you reclassified any employees from exempt to non-exempt given the uncertainty of the DOL regulations, be sure to issue newly non-exempt employees the required Wage Theft Prevention form upon reclassification and ensure compliance with time tracking, meal and break periods.

If you haven’t gotten to these updates yet, I’m sure I will be issuing 2017 edition handbooks straight through January, though I may go back to drinking my vanilla lattes by then.