A Review of 2020 Labor & Employment Legislation In California

The 2020 California legislative session led to a number of new laws that already have had significant impact on employers in the state. Employers were barraged with a combination of state and federal pandemic-related legislation, numerous Executive Orders from Governor Gavin Newsom, and COVID-related health orders and ordinances from many counties and cities. However, the Legislature also adopted several important employment-related statutes that do not concern the pandemic, including annual pay data reporting requirements, modification of independent contractor requirements, and expansion of California Family Rights Act leave obligations. The challenges for employers with California workforces are greater than in any recent year. 

Aside from the pandemic, the second year of Governor Newsom's term resembled his first in some respects: Governor Newsom exercised his veto power less often than did his predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, and—for the second time—Governor Newsom signed a piece of legislation (SB 973: Annual Pay Data Reporting) that Governor Brown previously vetoed.  

More than ever, employers with California workforces must be careful to pay attention to new developments and to understand and comply with both statewide requirements and local rules that apply in specific locations. Unfortunately, none of the COVID-related Executive Orders issued by Governor Newsom has any preemptive effect on local orders or ordinances.

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