New California laws impact LA garment industry
California has enacted a series of new laws effective January 1, 2018, that will have an impact on the state's apparel industry. Laws include changes to minimum wage, parental leave and immigration.
California's minimum wage has increased across the state: small businesses with 25 or fewer employees will see minimum wage increase up to $10.50. Large companies of 26 employees or more will have to increase their minimum wage to $11 an hour.
In LA, Santa Monica and Pasadena, minimum wage for small companies will increase to $12, while large companies will have to pay $13.25 an hour. San Francisco's minimum wage will rise to $15 regardless of company size.
Small businesses will also be affected by the new Parental Leave Act which requires companies to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding. This includes a new child through birth, adoption or foster care placement. Companies with 20 to 49 employees will be most affected by this since they previously did not have to offer this benefit.
In addition to these measures, California has added protection from immigration enforcement while workers are on the job. To that end, there will be fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 for companies that violate these protections.
Another new law requires clearer disclosures concerning hazardous materials. Companies using harmful chemicals must display data sheets which disclose what chemicals are being used, a measure which relates particularly to cleaning chemicals.
Additional laws have come into effect that relate to disclosing prior salaries and criminal histories on job applications. Companies may no longer ask job candidates these questions, although they may still run criminal background checks once a conditional offer of employment has been made.
Finally, in the wake of long-standing lawsuits and controversy stemming from figures such as American Apparel's Dov Charney, California has instituted mandatory sexual harassment training. Supervisors of companies with more than 50 employees must receive training every two years that covers gender identity and expression and sexual orientation in an effort to prevent sexual harassment.
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