If you live and work in California, it is important that you understand the new employment laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year and that you recognize how they might impact you. From the types of questions potential employers can ask during your interview to your options as far as taking leave from your place of employment, the state’s laws have undergone numerous changes in recent months.

Some of the more notable changes affecting California’s workforce include the following:

Hiring regulations

Often, potential employers determine how much money they want to pay you after asking about your past salaries, but they are no longer able to do so under state laws per Assembly Bill 168. Additionally, in the past, some employers have made employment decisions after asking about and factoring in a potential employee’s criminal history, but such questions may no longer lawfully appear on job applications.

Jobseekers may still volunteer their salary information during the interview process should they choose to do so, but potential employers cannot force them to reveal this information. Additionally, employers may lawfully conduct background checks after making conditional offers of employment, but they may not ask upfront about criminal histories so that those with criminal pasts may have better shots at landing gainful employment.

Job leave changes

California’s new employment laws may benefit you if you are going to have, adopt or foster a child in 2018, as Senate Bill 63 dictates that those who work for employers that have between 20 and 49 workers now have up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The leave, however, must occur in the first year of the baby’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. Additionally, if you are taking paid leave to care for a family member on a temporary basis, you may be able to receive a higher percentage of your income while doing so than you used to thanks to Assembly Bill 908.

While these are some of the changes that now affect California’s workforce, this is not an exhaustive list of all relevant changes.


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