California Bans Salary History Inquiries and Expands Parental Leave Rights
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
Yesterday, Governor Brown signed into law two more employment bills, the first of which bans employers from inquiring about applicants' salary history, and the second of which requires smaller employers (those with 20 employees) to provide up to 12 weeks of parental leave to employees. These were two bills that were opposed by business and employer groups.
AB 168 (Salary Inquiries): This new law, effective January 1, 2018, adds section 432.3 to the Labor Code and prohibits employers (public and private) from inquiring about, or considering, information concerning an applicant’s prior salary history in determining whether to offer employment to the applicant and/or the amount to pay the applicant. It also requires employers to provide the pay scale for a position upon request by an applicant. An applicant may, however, voluntarily (without prompting by the employer) disclose information concerning prior salary history, in which case the employer may consider it in determining the employee’s compensation. This new law is intended to combat the continuation of historical pay gaps existing along gender and/or racial lines. The text of this new law is available here.
SB 63 (Expansion of Parental Leave Rights): This new law, effective January 1, 2018, adds section 12945.6 to the Government Code and provides that an employee who has at least 12 months of service and 1250 hours of service within the prior 12 months, and who works at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles, is entitled to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The employer also is required to maintain the employee’s group health coverage during such leave, on the same terms as if the employee was actively reporting to work. There are already state and federal statutes requiring larger employers (50 or more employees) to provide such leave, but this new law creates parental leave rights for employees of smaller employers. If an employee is already entitled to leave under the FMLA or CFRA, this new law does not grant the employee another 12-week bucket of time off to also use. The text of this new law is available here.
California employers will need to modify their policies and practices as necessary in light of these new laws, including by reviewing and revising employment applications that contain salary history fields and revising or creating a parental leave policy that reflects an employee's entitlement to take parental leave under the expanded eligibility conditions set forth in the new parental leave law.
There are still several more employment-related bills on other topics pending before the Governor, who has until this Sunday to sign them into law or veto them.