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California Law Alerts: July 2019

July brought more than a heatwave this year. A wave of compliance law changes washed over California. Although three of the four law changes effect Employer compliance, employers who leverage the fourth law change (an individual mandate) may stand out in today’s hot job market.

Effective methods of Employee training

tryHRIS’s membership includes the Regulatory Compliance Database, which alerts you the moment Federal & State laws, regulations or requirements change, keeping you informed.

Law Alert 1: Paid Family Leave Benefits Expanded

This legislation expands Paid Leave Benefits by an additional two weeks for the care of a family member or to bond with a child.

On June 27, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation (S.B. 83) expanding the state’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefits. Currently, the PFL provides wage replacement benefits for up to six weeks to workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement. Beginning July 1, 2020, these wage replacement benefits increase to up to eight weeks for workers who take time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a minor child within one year of birth or placement.

The law took effect June 27, 2019.

 Read CA S.B. 83

**Straight from our Compliance Database** 

Make tracking employee leave easier with the Formulated Leave Tracking Sheet. 

Law Alert 2: CROWN Act

On July 3, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation (S.B. 188) modifying the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) by enacting the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act (CROWN Act).

Protective hairstyles are hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.

The act clarifies that workplace dress codes and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, have a disparate impact on Black individuals as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group.

The law is effective January 1, 2020.

Law Alert 3: FEHA Regulations

These regulations further define interpretations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

On June 24, 2019, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing adopted new regulations interpreting the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Among other things, the regulations:

  • Clarify the definition of employer.
  • Define “regularly employing” and “regular basis.”
  • Explain how to count employees for purposes of coverage.
  • Add obligations for employers to post a transgender rights poster.
  • Add harassment training requirements regarding gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

The regulations are effective October 1, 2019.

Law Alert 4: Minimum Essential Coverage

Individual Mandate

This individual mandate reintroduces the penalty for any individual without health insurance coverage in California beginning on January 1, 2020. For those seeking employment, health insurance benefits will surely come up during each interview. Leveraging benefits you offer may help you to capture those purple squirrels.

This mandate requires California residents to ensure that they, along with their spouses or dependents, are enrolled in and maintain minimum essential coverage for each month beginning on and after January 1, 2020. The California Health Benefit Exchange (Exchange), The law also imposes an individual shared responsibility penalty for the failure to maintain minimum essential coverage, to be determined and collected by the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), in collaboration with the Exchange.

Applicable entities that provide minimum essential coverage to an individual must also file specified returns with the FTB regarding the coverage. An applicable entity is:

  1. A carrier licensed or otherwise authorized to offer health coverage with respect to minimum essential coverage, including coverage in a catastrophic plan, that is not described in bullet three or four.
  2. An employer or other sponsor of an employment-based health plan with respect to employment-based minimum essential coverage.
  3. The State Department of Health Care Services and county welfare departments with respect to coverage under a state program.
  4. The Exchange with respect to individual health plans, except catastrophic plans, on the Exchange.

Of note, Covered California defines minimum essential coverage as “[t]he type of health insurance coverage that an individual must have in order to comply with the individual mandate set forth by the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA)”

The law took effect on June 27, 2019.

Read CA S.B. 78 and about Covered California

If these law alerts have you a bit overwhelmed and you find you have more questions than answers, our advisors can help your company navigate every new change, requirement, legislation, law and regulation. Give us a call to see how we can help streamline HR for professionals or office managers.

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