2021 Employment Law Legal Updates

As 2020 draws to a close, we can all take a moment to reflect on the many “firsts”  we have experienced. Whether your first was developing a purely takeout model for your restaurant, managing an entirely remote workforce, or having to become a public health and safety expert to stay open during a pandemic, we at The Mitzel Group want to take a moment and applaud you for all the challenges you have overcome this year. Our clients are trail blazers, fighters, and savvy entrepreneurs that get things done and we are happy to be part of your team.

Below we have quickly listed a few legal updates for your review as you begin to set your business up for success and compliance in 2021. This list is not expansive, for further information regarding any update, please reach out to your Mitzel Group attorney for guidance.

  • Sick Leave Kin Care Expansion (AB 2017) – Employees have the sole discretion to determine how much paid sick leave to use to care for their kin or their own illness.
  • Paid Family Leave Military Exigency Expansion (AB 2399) – Individuals will now be able to take leave for qualifying duty-related exigencies of an individual’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent.
  • California Family Rights Act Expansion (AB 1383) – The Act now applies to employers with 5+ employees, extends covered family members, and removes some limitations for parents and key employees.
  • Victims of Crime or Abuse Protection Expansion (AB 2992) – The list of eligible crimes is expanded to include victims of a crime that caused injury and for crimes where a person’s immediate family member is deceased due to a crime.
  • Employment Violation Complaint Timeframe (AB 1947) – Employees now have one year to file a complaint with the DLSE for a qualifying violation.
  • No Rehire Provisions (AB 2143) – Expands current prohibition on “no rehire” provisions in settlement agreements to include an exception where the employer determined that the aggrieved person engaged in any criminal conduct.
  • Pay Data Reporting (SB 973) – Requires private employers with 100+ employees to submit a pay date report to DFEH by March 31, 2021.
  • Mandated Child Abuse Reporting for HR (AB 1963) – HR professionals of a business with 5+ employees who employ minors now have a duty to notify authorities of suspected child abuse.
  • Corporate Board and Diversity Requirement (AB 979) – Corps with principal executive offices in California must have a minimum of one director from an underrepresented community on their board by the end of 2021.
  • Independent Contractors Exemptions (AB 2557) – Adds 26 new exemptions to AB 5 and makes key changes and clarifications to the business-to-business exemption.
  • COVID Reporting (AB 685) – Employers who receive notice of possible exposure must provide disclosures within one business days to specified employees.
  • Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Standards – Cal/OSHA released detailed and onerous COVID-19 related obligations for employers with employees in the worksite. We recommend a detailed review of the new standards.
As a reminder, this email serves as a general, broad, and quick review of some of the numerous legal updates for 2021. Each bill listed above contains multiple provisions and unique employer obligations for compliance.