Q: We are a small business (15 employees). The coronavirus pandemic has made everything harder, but now we have a new minimum wage we must pay in California?
-L.H., Manhattan Beach
A: A business in California with less than 26 workers must increase the hourly rate to at least $13. There are some cities, however, such as Sonoma, Mountain View, and Palo Alto, that have increased their minimum wage to $15 or more in 2021. Other California employers (with more than 26 employees) must pay a minimum wage of $14 per hour. Note, however, that these figures did not just arise. Back in 2016, then-Gov. Jerry Brown set in motion a law that requires the state’s mandatory minimum wage to be increased incrementally each year until it reaches $15 an hour in 2022. Current Gov. Gavin Newson decided not to suspend the wage increase because, he said: “Not allowing this increase to go forward will only make life harder for those Californians who have already borne a disproportionate share of the economic hardship caused by this pandemic.”
Q: If there is a potential COVID-19 exposure in the work place, does the law require my employer to do anything?
A: A new law this year requires the employer to take specific steps, such as written notifications to employees, within one business day of a potential exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. The notification must be in English and, if applicable, another language.
Q: We have yet more new laws this year in California, but what if any one or more of them are just not reasonable? Go back to the legislature?
A: The Legislature is one avenue, but a court challenge is another. If those options are not satisfactory, consider a ballot measure. Getting an item up for a vote by the electorate is no easy task, but it can be (and has been) done.
Ron Sokol is a Manhattan Beach attorney with more than 35 years of experience. His column, which appears in print on Wednesdays, presents a summary of the law and should not be construed as legal advice. Email questions and comments to him at email@example.com.
Sign up for The Localist, our daily email newsletter with handpicked stories relevant to where you live. Subscribe here.
Source:: Los Angeles Daily News