Four Changes To California Employment Law in 2021

The business world is much more than sales and profit. It is also deeply connected to regulatory measures and government oversight. As a result, it’s quite common to see new legislation affecting the landscape of what it means to be a business owner. Four examples of such legislation were signed into California employment law at the beginning of the year by Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Read below to learn more about these changes to California Employment Law and how they may impact your business:

Cal-OSHA COVID-19 Precautions

One area of change that’s not at all surprising is the set of OSHA precautions and guidelines that have been established for businesses in the state. While they cover very important topics ranging from mask availability for employees to current sanitization protocols, we’d like to draw attention to this category from a broader perspective. 

COVID-19 rules and regulations are changing almost daily. With every new piece of information, the state government continues to pivot its strategy and disseminate new recommendations to the private sector. So much so, in fact, that Cal-OSHA recommends having a coordinator that’s solely dedicated to keeping up-to-date with new guidelines as they come out. 

SB-1383 – CFRA leave expansion

Regarding non-COVID-related legislation, the leave law known as SB 1383 is likely the most significant new law to impact business owners. The bill has now expanded the California Family Rights Act to include employers with five or more employees. In addition, the list of reasons for taking family or medical leave has also been broadened. 


The result is that anyone that’s working full-time for a company with five or more employees can now take paid leave to care for family members such as siblings, grandparents, or grandchildren, in addition to the previously protected parents and children categories that were already on the CFRA. 


SB-973 – Pay data reporting

Another interesting law going into effect at the end of the month is SB-973, which covers rules on pay data reporting. Beginning with the first deadline on March 31 of this year, employers are now required to submit an annual pay data report that outlines metrics like the number of employees at the organization, sorted by race, ethnicity, and gender. There are also requirements centered on sharing job categories and how much each individual is being paid.


This has been established to provide a better idea of the socio-economic state of protected classes and non-white populations. In other words, SB-973 helps the state of California enforce pay equity legislation by creating more granular reporting across the board. Moving forward, employers are advised to break down these numbers ahead of any reporting periods, so that they can correct any discrepancies before they become public record. 


AB-979 – Board diversity requirements

The final law that all employers should be keeping an eye on is AB-979. Built to help advance the interests of underrepresented communities in California, the new legislation requires all boards to have at least one non-white member by 2021. This is because even though the general workforce population continues to diversify, California has not seen the same diversification reflected in the membership of boards and other decision-making bodies. 

To take things further, there will be even more requirements that must be met by the end of 2022. At that point, boards with 5-8 members must have at least two from underrepresented groups, and corporations with 9+ directors will be required to have at least three directors from underrepresented communities as well.


Contact Gokal Law

Do you believe your employer has been ignoring labor laws like the ones we listed above? Contact Jibit Cinar of Gokal Law Group, Inc. Our team specializes in litigation and counseling related to employment and labor law and will diligently represent you in the courts. In short, we will give you the support you need to win your case. The sooner you contact us, the more effective we are at getting you the justice you deserve.

Gokal Law Group is a family firm that treats our clients as if they were our own flesh and blood. We fight for our clients as we would our own children, sisters, brothers, and parents. We are our clients’ Warriors, fighting to bring them justice and right the wrongs they have endured.

Each attorney has a specific practice area for which they are tried, tested, and battle-ready. Each has vast years of experience in their practice area, providing them the knowledge, skills, and vision to fight and win. Learn more about Gokal Law Group.

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