Employers with California employees are already familiar with the particularities and unique challenges associated with doing business in this state. As other west coast states appear to be meeting or surpassing California’s previously employee-friendly landscape, California is stepping up its game with an ever-expanding list of new ordinances and regulations. In just the last few weeks, several cities have instituted or added new compliance obligations to paid sick leave, including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego and San Francisco. Employers whose workers perform work in the any of the affected cities for varying periods of time now have to comply with both the state law and the more favorable local ordinances — a particularly tricky task if an employer has mobile employees working in different geographical regions. San Francisco rules apply to any employee who performs work in the city, while San Diego and Santa Monica rules apply to those who work at least two hours in the city in a particular week. Los Angeles has a similar threshold of two hours in a week, but also requires at least 30 days within a year in the city from the start of employment. In some cases, these paid sick leave requirements double or more what is required statewide. Following in a similar vein, employers can expect local ordinances to pop up following San Francisco’s trailblazing on issues like flexible schedules or larger statewide initiates increasing the protected characteristics under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
This next year will likely continue to bring new and different changes that make doing business in California more complex and nuanced. Understanding both local and statewide requirements for all aspects of employment is critical for the success of any business.