By Kristina Launey

This week sees California’s official adoption of two pro-employee measures: 

1)   Increase in the State Minimum Wage

             This morning, Governor Brown signed AB 10.  As we previously reported, this bill raises the minimum wage in two (2) $1.00 increments, from the current $8 per hour rate to $9 per hour effective July 1, 2014.  Then to $10 per hour effective January 1, 2016.  California’s minimum wage is currently seventh highest in the nation, trailing CT, IL, NV, OR, VT and WA.  If no other states increase their minimums, by 2016 California will have the highest minimum wage in the country.  

2)   Paid Family Leave Coverage Expanded

             Yesterday, September 24, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law SB 770, which will expand the familial relationships covered by California’s paid family leave program.  Currently, employees who are permitted to take unpaid time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, domestic partner, or to bond with a minor child within one year of the birth, adoption or foster care placement of the child, can receive up to 6 weeks of wage replacement benefits under California’s family temporary disability (paid family leave) program.  Beginning July 1, 2014, a seriously ill grandparent, grandchild, sibling and parent-in-law will also be included.  This change does not directly increase an employer’s out-of-pocket expenses, as the program is funded by mandatory payroll deductions.