California’s New Year’s Resolution, Better Laws for Workers

Minimum-wage workers in California rang in the New Year with a pay raise: they will now take home $10, up from $9.  Legislation passed in 2013 raised the State’s minimum wage to $9 on July 1, 2014, with a final adjustment to $10 this past New Year’s Day.  The minimum wage is not currently set to increase again.  However, activists are gathering signatures to put a measure on California’s ballot to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Similar to the way California has guaranteed paid sick leave for its workers, California is also ensuring that workers cannot be fired when they need to take time off to help their children enroll in daycare or schools, or to face childcare emergencies.  SB 579 also went into effect on January 1 in California.  SB 579 protects workers to take up to 40 hours a year off to enroll their children in daycare or a K through 12 school, participate in daycare or school activities, or to attend to a daycare or school emergency.  The worker must give his or her employer reasonable notice of the planned absence.  While SB 579 allows workers to use paid-time off, such as vacation or personal leave, the worker can also use unpaid-leave time.

California workers have a lot to celebrate in 2016.  However, they must organize to continue these successes and advance legal protections and rights for workers.

By Anthony Tucci | January 20, 2016

Legal Developments