Key Laws For California Employers - 2020

Of course this list is not all inclusive.  Call your RSJ/Swenson HR Consultant to discuss your specific needs, or e-mail us at


Exempt employees must make a higher minimum salary

Effective January 1, 2020, the California minimum wage for employers with 25 employees or less will be $12.00/hour, and for employers with 26 employees or more will be $13.00/hour.  (to see the minimum wage changes in all California municipalities, click here),


To qualify as an exempt employee, an employee must be paid a monthly salary equivalent to no less than two times the state minimum wage for full-time employment.


That means, effective January 1:

  • Large employers (with 26 or more employees) must pay an annual salary of at least $54,080; and

  • Small employers (25 or less employees) must pay a salary of at least $49,920 per year.


Non Harassment Training

For your non-supervisory employees, you have until January 1, 2021 to provide the mandatory training to employees and must provide that training once every two years thereafter. To get your training (on-site, live webinar, or on-demand webinar), click here.

Provide lactation accommodation

Employers must now provide additional lactation accommodations for employees.  Employers need to review if any structural changes that must made in order to comply with the new requirements, and they should also develop and implement a lactation policy that meets the requirements under the new law.  In addition, employers should train managers to understand the employer’s obligations to provide these lactation accommodations and ensure managers understand employees are entitled to breaks to express breast milk.  Reasonable amounts of time in excess of the normal meal and rest breaks must be permitted.

Employees & Independent Contractors

This is a biggie, and the #1 issue we’re seeing with our clients.  With some exceptions, for a person to be classified as an independent contractor, he/she must meet all three standards:

  1. The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under contract for the performance of the work and in fact; AND

  2. The worker performs work outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; AND

  3. The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.


We emphasized #2, because that’s a significant change, and codifies a previous state supreme court ruling.  If you’re hiring temporary help, that person is probably and independent contractor and not an employee.  Make sure to check with your RSJ/Swenson HR professional.

Update handbooks and posters

If you have grooming standards in your appearance policy, you need to revisit them in light of the new CROWN Act and ensure that your policy does not discriminate against natural hairstyles.

And as always

There are many more laws that impact your business.  That's why we're here!  Make sure to contact RSJ/Swenson's team of Human Resources specialists to make sure you're always in compliance.