Many California employees have something to look forward to this year as new wage laws have gone into effect for 2022. It’s important to know what this means.
What are some of the new employment laws?
California passed several employment laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Among them are increases to the minimum wage, exemptions for independent contractors and additional limits to nondisclosure agreements and settlement agreements.
Workers are now entitled to earn at least $15 per hour if their employer has at least 26 employees or $14 per hour if their employer has 25 or fewer employees. Some workers will receive a higher minimum wage depending on the city, county and other factors. In addition, workers who have faced sexual harassment and signed nondisclosure agreements no longer have to stay silent and can legally speak out about what they have faced.
Changes to wage theft laws
There are also new wage theft laws taking effect in 2022. Although wage theft is illegal, some employers still commit it by withholding wages rightfully due to employees. With the new law, wage theft will now result in criminal penalties against the employer. Wage theft occurs when an employer deliberately deprives an employee of their wages. This also includes independent contractors performing work for an employer.
Per the new wage theft law, if an employer deliberately deprives a single worker of wages greater than $950 or wages amounting to $2,350 or higher from two or more workers within one year, that employer can face criminal charges of grand theft. Employees who are victims of wage theft should immediately file a complaint with the state’s labor department or with the U.S. Department of Labor. A complaint must be filed within two years of the theft.
You are entitled to your full wages for all the work you have put in with your employer. These new laws are meant to further protect your rights.