Sue Allred, Center Executive Director, SPHR / SHRM-SCP

Disclaimer – I am not an employment attorney, therefore this document should not be considered Legal Advice

Warren Buffet once said “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing”. Ignoring ever-changing HR Law or “winging it” could end up with fines or legal fees that will close your center down.

As typical in the HR world, there are a number of new and updated Employment Laws for you to implement.  Several of these will include a need for an update poster and several will require you to update your Employee Handbook. If you do not have a reliable source for a good and reasonable All-In-One Legal Poster (both CA and Federal laws included), I would recommend using the California Chamber of Commerce Store:  I also suggest that whatever provider you use, consider upgrading to a purchase with poster protect (they send you a new poster if laws change during the year) – last year there were 4 significant posting requirements that changed – and it is likely to be the case this year too.  Please, for the love of GOD – do not go through Personnel Concepts.  You will be overcharged for generic Federal information.

Here are the new/updated laws that will most likely affect pregnancy centers:

  • State Minimum Wage
  • Paid Sick Leave Expanded
  • Reproductive-Related Bereavement Leave
  • Workplace Violence Safety Standard
  • Updated Wage Theft Prevention Notice
  • Health Care Industry Minimum Wage
  • Criminal History Regulations
  1. State Minimum WageMinimum wage for the state will go up to $16.00/hour on January 1, 2024. Many local jurisdictions have passed a higher minimum wage (mostly in the Bay Area and San Diego). Minimum wage for “white collar” exempt employees (salaried) will be $66,560. Make sure you know the difference between an “exempt” and “non-exempt” employee (commonly thought of as salary vs. hourly). An employee is not exempt unless they meet BOTH the salary and duties test.   If you misclassify and pay someone exempt (a salary, not eligible for overtime, etc.) it can be classified as “wage theft” and the fines are EXTREMELY high.This requires a poster update for 2024 and a Notice to Employee form if you have to increase their pay to meet this requirement.
  2. Paid Sick Leave Expanded Not a new law, but just a change in the existing one.   Starting January 1, 2024, all employees must be provided with 40 hours of sick leave (regardless of the number of hours that they work).  Other than the amount, sick leave does not change much on granting and usage UNLESS you are using an alternative method other than a lump sum grant on the first of the year.  If you are using an accrual method, you may want to reach out to me for information on rollover caps, etc.  Regardless of your method of granting, your employee handbook should be updated to reflect the new amounts and policies.  This will also require an updated poster. 
  3. Reproductive-Related Bereavement Leave This is a new law, in addition to the Bereavement Law that went into effect in 2023.  Effective January 1, 2024, it requires employers with five or more employees to provide five days of unpaid leave for a “reproductive loss event” (defined as the final day of a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth or an unsuccessful assisted reproduction).  There are some rules as to the timing of the leave and confidentiality protections.   As an employer, you can also limit this type of leave to 20 days in a 12 month period.  It does NOT run concurrently with CFRA leave.   Your handbook should be updated to include this policy.
  1. Workplace Violence Safety Standard Employers regardless of size have long been required to have an Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP).  Effective July 1, 2024 employers will be also required to establish, implement and maintain a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) either as part of their IIPP or as a stand-alone document.  There are a number of requirements, including:
  • Training on workplace violence hazards
  • Maintenance of a violent incident log
  • Periodic Reviews of the WVPP
  • Unlike the IIPP, employees at all levels must be engaged in the development of the plan. Healthcare facilities that are covered by California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 3342 are exempt from this Act as the industry is already covered by their own standards.  This means that Pregnancy Centers that are clinics should already have such a plan in place; Pregnancy Centers that are only resource centers will need to comply.  There may be templates coming out in the near future; CAL/OHSA is required to propose standards for a WVPP by 12/1/25.   I will keep you updated on any developments in the next few months.
  1. Updated Wage Theft Prevention Notice Beginning January 1, 2024, a new law, AB 636, requires employers to provide information about a federal or state emergency or disaster declaration applicable to the county where they will be employed.  A new Notice to Employees Form should be coming from the Dept. of Industrial Relations but when I checked today, the old form dated 9/14 is still the only form.  Remember to issue a new form to your employees every time that they are receiving a wage increase, as well as any time that any of the other information (worker’s comp info, this new standard, sick pay amount, etc.) changes.
  1. Health Care Industry Minimum Wage SB 525 becomes effective June 1, 2024.  It creates a comprehensive minimum wage scheme to increase minimum wage for healthcare workers from $18 to $25 per hour with all healthcare facilities reaching $25 per hour by June 1, 2028.  This wage will apply not just to medical professionals but all persons working in a healthcare facility.  To address the potential financial concerns, the new bill requires the California Department of Industrial Relations to develop a waiver program that will allow employers to apply for a one-year temporary pause or alternative phase-in schedule of the minimum wage requirements.   Employers that wish to apply for a waiver would need to demonstrate that compliance with the minimum wage requirements would detrimentally affect the operations of their business. I have spoken with Ann O’Connor from NIFLA and we are investigating if “free clinics” would be exempt from this; expect to see updates on this as we get closer to June.
  1. Criminal History Regulations This is an amendment to the previously enacted “Fair Chance Act” and went into effect October 1, 2023.  The revised regulations clarify and adds new provisions, included job postings cannot use statements such as “No Felons” or “Must have a clean record”.  It expands the definition of “applicant” to include current employees applying for internal positions, and expands the factors to consider a criminal background history for an individualized assessment.  It also adds examples of mitigating/rehabilitative evidence employers must consider.