As the calendar flips to 2022, it's a good time to make sure you're up to date with the new laws, regulations, court cases and agency actions — many of which will affect California employers’ day-to-day operations and policies. These updates are organized by topic below to help you understand your responsibilities and learn how they will impact your business. They also have links to their respective Law Library pages to give you more details.

Also, check the Local Ordinances and Required Posters and Pamphlets pages to make sure you are compliant.

Note: The links below will either take you directly to the topic content or to the page that contains that content. Look for flags on content pages to find laws, actions and regulations that are new for 2022. You may need to scroll down to find them.

Recruiting and Hiring

  • A split Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion vacated the preliminary injunction on a state law effectively banning mandatory arbitration agreements; however, at the time of publication it was considering a petition for rehearing en banc and litigation is ongoing. See Offering Employment.

Exempt and Nonexempt

Verifying Eligibility to Work

  • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) extended provisions deferring physical presence requirements associated with Form I-9 document inspection for employers and workplaces operating remotely. See Worksite Immigration Enforcement and Protections.

Types of Worker

  • Joint and several liability provisions for client employers with 25 or more employees who hire port drayage motor carriers were expanded to include any amounts found due for employment tax assessments issued by the state and civil liability stemming from the motor carrier's failure to comply with applicable health and safety laws, rules, or regulations. See Non-Direct Hires.
  • New laws revised provisions of the state's worker classification law, including changing the “data aggregator” exception to the ABC test and extending the exceptions for newspaper carriers, licensed manicurists and construction trucking contractors. See Independent Contractor.

Personnel Records and Privacy

Wage and Hour Law

  • The intentional theft of wages, benefits or compensation in the amount greater than $950 for one employee or more than $2,350 for two or more employees in a consecutive 12-month period is now punishable as grand theft. See Wage and Hour Enforcement and Penalties.
  • The Labor Commissioner can now create a lien on real property to secure the amount due to it under any citation, findings, or decision. See Wage and Hour Enforcement and Penalties.
  • According to a California's Fourth Appellate District’s analysis, it's conceivable that an employee whose claims expired 10 years earlier could still bring a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim because at one time, the employee was an aggrieved employee under the PAGA. See Wage and Hour Enforcement and Penalties Wage and Hour Enforcement and Penalties.
  • PAGA doesn't apply to janitorial employees represented by a labor organization that represented janitors before January 1, 2021 with respect to work performed under certain collective bargaining agreement. See Wage and Hour Enforcement and Penalties.

Wages, Salaries and Other Compensation

  • California’s minimum wage is now $15 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. See Minimum Wage.
  • A program in which disabled individuals could obtain a one-year license to work at a wage less than minimum wage is being phased out. See Minimum Wage.
  • The Social Security wage base limit for 2022 increased to $147,000. See Deductions from Wages.
  • The meal and lodging credits employers may take against minimum wage increased when the new minimum wage became effective on January 1, 2022. See Meals and Lodging.
  • A court held that a policy of requiring reimbursement or seeking criminal charges against employees for ordinary mistakes likely violates the law. See Deductions from Wages.
  • The meal and lodging credits employers may take against minimum wage increased when the new minimum wage became effective on January 1, 2022. See Meals and Lodging.
  • IRS mileage rates have increased for 2022. See Expense Reimbursement.
  • The minimum wage rate on certain federal contracts increased. See Wage and Hour Requirements for Specific Industries.
  • Payroll records for contractors and subcontractors covered by state prevailing wage laws must be provided to the Labor Commissioner at least once every 30 days while the work is being performed and within 30 days after the final day of work performed and must be in an electronic format prescribed by the Labor Commissioner. See Wage and Hour Requirements for Specific Industries.
  • California revised the laws applicable to the garment manufacturing industry. See Wage and Hour Requirements for Specific Industries.
  • Certain employers with warehouse distribution centers have new obligations with respect to the use of work quotas. See Wage and Hour Requirements for Specific Industries.

Hours of Work and Recording Time Worked

  • For purposes of meal and rest breaks, the California Supreme Court reversed a Court of Appeal decision and concluded that “regular rate of compensation” means the same thing as “regular rate of pay.” See Meal Break.
  • A recent California Supreme Court ruling found that rounding meal period time punches is not appropriate. See Meal BreakMeal Breaks.
  • California law now prohibits chain community pharmacies from establishing quotas. See Exceptions for Specific Industries.

Overtime

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that, under certain circumstances, per diem payments functioned as compensation, not reimbursements, and should be included in the regular rate of pay. See Calculating Overtime.
  • A court determined a company’s use of a “rate-in-effect” policy was lawful because it actually resulted in a higher net payment to employees than the weighted average method would have. See Calculating Overtime.
  • Agricultural workers will now receive overtime after 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week. See Overtime Exceptions for Specific Industries.

Health and Retirement Benefits

  • Minimum annual deductibles for Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for those who have high-deductible health plans (HDHP) are set for 2022. See Health Savings Accounts.
  • For 2022, if you have self-only HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $3,650. If you have family HDHP coverage, you can contribute up to $7,300. See Health Savings Accounts.
  • The deadline for small employers participating in the CalSavers program is June 31, 2022. See Health Savings Accounts.

Family, Medical and Parental Leave

  • Definitions for family care are clarified under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). See Family and Medical LeaveLeave for a Qualifying Exigency (FMLA Only).
  • A new law expanded the provisions of the Department of Fair Employment and Housing's small employer family leave mediation pilot program for employers with between five and 19 employees. See Penalties for Violating Family and Medical Leave Law.

Ensuring Workplace Safety

  • Federal OSHA published an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) that requires employers with 100 or more employees to develop and implement a written mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy subject to narrow exceptions. See IIPP and COVID-19.
  • Beginning January 1, 2023, or one year after the adoption of specified regulations, whichever is later, health care employers must maintain an inventory of new, unexpired PPE for use in the event of a declared state of emergency. See Providing Personal Protective Equipment.
  • California expanded the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health's (Cal/OSHA's) enforcement authority by creating two new violations categories for which Cal/OSHA can issue citations — “enterprise-wide” violations and “egregious” violations. See Creating a Workplace Safety Plan.

Workers’ Compensation

Employment Discrimination

Harassment

Disabilities in the Workplace

  • As COVID-19 changes the employment law landscape, government agencies continue to provide guidance on many commonplace compliance issues that are now causing confusion for employers. See Reasonable Accommodations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • While most individuals who contract the coronavirus recover in a couple of weeks, COVID-19 “long-haulers” can experience serious symptoms, sometimes for weeks or months after their initial COVID-19 infection. See “Long COVID-19” in Reasonable Accommodations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • In a 2021 case with an employee diagnosed with “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” who requested accommodation but eventually quit, the appellate court ruled that the employee could continue in her lawsuit for failure to accommodate because, based on the employee’s allegations, the employer may not have continued to take positive steps to accommodate her limitations. See Reasonable Accommodation Obligation Is Ongoing.

Layoffs and Plant Closings

  • Beginning April 16, 2021, California created what is commonly referred to as a “right of recall” for certain employees that were laid-off due to COVID-19. See Rights of Workers Displaced by COVID-19Rights of Workers Displaced by COVID-19.

Labor Relations in Private Employment