Employment Law Changes 2016

Posted on October 22, 2015 by Rick Rossignol

Health Benefit Mandates—Effective Jan. 1, 2016, large group health care service plan contracts must provide a minimum value of at least 60 percent.
Effective for insured group health plans offered, amended or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and until Jan. 1, 2020, coverage for prescription drugs is revised. In addition, provisions related to prescription drug formularies, coverage for medically necessary drugs to treat HIV/AIDSpharmacy choice and step therapy are revised

Health Insurance Marketplace—Effective for qualified health plans issued, amended or renewed through the California Health Benefit Exchange on or after Jan. 1, 2017, and until Jan. 1, 2018, provisions relating to essential health benefits are revised.

Minimum Wage—Effective Jan. 1, 2016, is raised to 10.00 per hour in California. The salary test in CA is to pay a weekly salary that is 2 times the minimum wage. It applies to all Cities in CA… so if the city min goes up so does the weekly salary. An easy way for employer to misclassify employee exempt by not paying the right weekly salary.

Overtime—Effective Jan. 1, 2016, employers can treat computer-software employees as exempt from overtime requirements if such employees earn at least $41.85 an hour, $7,265.43 a month or $87,185.14 a year; licensed physicians and surgeons are exempt from overtime if they earn at least $76.24 an hour.

Wage Payment Requirements— Effective Oct. 2, 2015, employers that fail to provide employees with a sufficient wage statement can reconcile violations before employees can file civil actions.

Security Security  2016, the taxable wage base will remain the same — $118,500 maximum taxable earnings. The Social Security withholding rate is unchanged for 2016 and remains at 6.2 percent, up to the maximum taxable amount.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against an employee for requesting accommodation of his or her disability or religious beliefs, regardless of whether the accommodation request was ultimately granted.  The new law is intended to clarify a portion of the holding in the published decision of Rope v. Auto-Clor System of Washington, Inc. 220 Cal. App. 4th 635 (2013).  (AB 987; amends Government Code section 12940).

Labor Commissioner is authorized to file a lien on real estate, or a levy on an employer’s property, or impose a stop order on an employer’s business in order to assist an employee in collecting unpaid wages where there is a judgment against the employer. Any employer, or individual acting on behalf of an employer, who violates any provision regulating minimum wages or hours and days of work in any order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, or who violates other related provisions of law may be held liable as the employer for such violation. A bond of up to $150,000 may be required of an employer who does not promptly pay a judgment for unpaid wages.  (SB 588; adds sections 690.020-690.050 to the Code of Civil Procedure; amends section 98 of the Labor Code, and adds sections 96.8, 238, 238.1, 238.2, 238.3, 238.4, 238.5, and 558.1).

The duration of the “disability benefit period” is extended from 14 days to 60 days. (SB 667; amends, repeals, and adds sections 2608 and 2627 of the Unemployment Insurance Code).

Beginning on January 1, 2017, an employer with 10 or more employees must file all reports and returns electronically, and remit all contributions for unemployment insurance premiums by electronic funds transfer, except as provided. Beginning on January 1, 2018, these electronic filing and fund transfer requirements will be extended to all employers. The bill would authorize the granting of a waiver from these requirements. The bill would impose a penalty of $50 on those employers who fail to file a quarterly return electronically without good cause.  (AB 1245; amends sections 1088, 1110, 1112, 1114, 13002, and 13021 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, and adds section 1112.1).

Two statutory provisions containing the term “alien,” used to describe any person who is not born in or a fully naturalized citizen of the United States, will be deleted from the Labor Code. (SB 432; deletes Labor Code sections 1725 and 2015).

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