Webinar Recap: California Employment Law Compliance Madness!

By Dana Holle, GovDocs Associate Counsel
Employment Law and Compliance
Published March 28, 2024
California Employment Law Compliance 2024 from GovDocs

A recap of our latest webinar detailing new and updated employment laws in California this year.

It’s March Madness here at GovDocs, but we’re not talking about college basketball, Cinderella stories, or busted brackets. Instead, we’re referring to the several new and updated employment laws that are going into effect in the Golden State this year, creating Compliance Madness for California employers.  

It’s not too late to get in on the action! Below is a breakdown of six important updates in California that were recently discussed in GovDocs’ Coastal Compliance: Navigating California Employment Law in 2024 Webinar, with Jana Bjorklund, GovDocs Senior Counsel and Director of Employment Law and Compliance.

  1. Expanded Paid Sick Leave
  2. Reproductive Loss Leave
  3. Non-Compete Notice Requirement
  4. Employment and Marijuana Use Protections
  5. Workplace Violence Prevention Plan
  6. Recently Passed and Pending CA Bills to Watch

1. Expanded Paid Sick Leave in California

Effective: Jan. 1, 2024  

Legislation: SB 616 

Key Highlights: California amended its paid sick leave law to include, among other updates, an increase in the amount of leave for covered employees, annual usage cap, and frontloading to 5 days or 40 hours per year. The carryover amount also increased to 10 days or 80 hours annually. Of note, certain contrary provisions in local laws are expressly preempted by state law.  

Expert Tip: Bjorklund reminded webinar participants that “If your current paid time off policy met the requirements of the prior California paid sick leave law, you’ll want to make sure that your policy meets these expanded benefits to remain in compliance.” 

2. California Reproductive Loss Leave

Effective: Jan. 1, 2024 

Legislation: SB 848 

Key Highlights: Requires employers with 5 or more employees to provide covered employees up to 5 days of unpaid leave following a reproductive loss, which includes failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, and unsuccessful assisted reproduction. The leave may be taken intermittently. If the reproductive loss occurred during another leave, the reproductive loss leave may be taken within three months at the end of the other leave.   

In addition to the Coastal Compliance Webinar, please refer to GovDocs’ Employment Law News page for more information on California Reproductive Loss Leave.  

3. California Non-Compete Notice Requirement

Notification Required by: Feb. 14, 2024 

Legislation: AB 1076 

Key Highlights: Employers are required to provide individualized notices to current and former employees that all non-compete agreements or clauses in employment contracts are void by Feb. 14, 2024. 

Expert Analysis: In the Coastal Compliance Webinar, Bjorklund stated, “For decades, California has taken the most pro-employee position on non-compete and non-solicitation agreements in the country, and generally they are prohibited post-employment. California has now added a new twist to their law…any non-compete or non-solicitation agreement void under California law is now unenforceable regardless of where and when the contract was signed.” 

4. California Employment and Marijuana Use Protections

Effective: Jan. 1, 2024  

Legislation: SB 700 & AB 2188 

Key Highlights: Employers are now prohibited from requesting information or obtaining information about an applicant’s prior cannabis use. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against employees for off-duty cannabis use or testing hair or urine for marijuana when decisions are made around hiring, firing, or disciplining workers. Both bills listed exemptions from these requirements, including those that apply to employees in construction, federal jobs, etc.  

Expert Note: Bjorklund emphasized that “It’s important to note that even with these two new laws, employers can still maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace, and you of course can discipline employees who are impaired at work, you just need to use other tests that screen for current impairment, like a blood test.”

5. California Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Effective: July 1, 2024 

Legislation: SB 553 

Key Highlights: Employers in California must create and implement a workplace violence prevention plan by July 1, 2024. For a full breakdown of the new plan requirements, see the recent GovDocs Employment Law News Blog – Deadline Approaching for New CA Workplace Violence Prevention Plan Requirements.  

Expert Reminder: “When developing your plan, employees need to be involved in the drafting of the plan and as an employer, you are going to need to provide initial training when the plan is rolled out and…an annual training requirement afterwards,” stated Bjorklund.

6. Recently Passed and Pending CA Bills to Watch

In addition to the laws that recently went into effect, there are several updated notices and legislation to watch.  

Updated Notices and Pamphlets:  

  • Time of Hire pamphlet  
  • Wage Theft notice 
  • For Your Benefit pamphlet 

Legislation to Watch:  

  • AB 610 – To expand exemptions under the fast-food worker minimum wage law to include restaurants in airports, hotels, event centers, theme parks, museums, and other locations 
  • AB 1996 / AB 1976 – Two bills to require naloxone in the workplace

Expert Tip: Bjorklund concluded the Coastal Compliance Webinar by stating, “At the end of the day, we all know California employment law compliance is complex, so it is always advisable to not only keep an eye on pending bills that might apply to your organization but also remain alert to guidance, opinions, and other information on these bills and laws.”


With Compliance Madness in full swing, California employers should take a timeout, confirm their policies are up to date with the new requirements, and verify all appropriate notices have been provided to the necessary parties.  

Take your shot with GovDocs by accessing a game-winning three-pointer in the form of postings, minimum wage, and paid leave solutions. Check out the GovDocs Employment Law Platform to learn more today. 

This Employment Law News blog is intended for market awareness only, it is not to be used for legal advice or counsel.

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