From texting and driving to employment law and other changes, these 8 new laws going into effect in 2021 will impact residents and employers in Sacramento. Learn how the legislation going into effect in the new year will affect your daily life and your business.
Legislation Affecting Individuals
Greater Consequences for Texting and Driving
California law already prohibits driving with your phone in your hand. In 2021, the consequences of doing so will be stricter. Starting in July of 2021, having two convictions of driving with your phone in your hand will add a point to your record.
Protections for Rescuing Children From Hot Cars
State law prohibits leaving a child under 6 in a hot car. Now, individuals who break into hot cars to rescue a child will be protected from civil or criminal liability for property damage or trespassing.
Get Your REAL ID This Year
A REAL ID is a drivers license or identification card that is a federally accepted form of identification. While having a REAL ID is not required, you will need one to board domestic flights and enter secure federal facilities beginning on October 1st, 2021.
Visit the California DMV website to learn more about REAL ID and whether or not you will need one.
Legislation Affecting Businesses
HR Employees Must Report Child Abuse
Beginning January 1, 2021 California Assembly Bill 1963 makes human resources employees and some frontline supervisors at certain businesses mandated reporters of child abuse. Employers are required to provide appropriate training to these new mandated reporters. This requirement may be satisfied by taking the training provided by the California Department of Social Services.
Diversifying Executive Boards
By the end of 2021, a board of directors with at least five members must include at least two women. Boards with at least six members must have at least three women. Furthermore, these boards must also include members of underrepresented communities. Boards with four or fewer members must have at least one director from an underrepresented community, boards with four to nine members must have at least two, and boards with nine or more must have at least three.
Assembly Bill 979 defines an individual from an underrepresented community as "an individual who self-identifies as Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender."
Notifying Employees of COVID-19 Exposure
A law effective from January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2023 requires businesses to notify employees in writing of exposure to COVID-19 within a day of the potential exposure.
Furthermore, the bill, AB 685, requires employers to notify a public health agency of an outbreak within their workforce within 48 hours.
Expanded Family and Medical Leave
Another new law expands employee rights to family and medical leave. Employers with at least five employees must provide eligible employees with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid, job-protected leave during any 12-month period for covered reasons.
During that time, the employer must maintain and pay for the employee's coverage under a group health plan for the duration of the leave at the same level as would have been provided if the employee had continued working normally for the duration of the leave.
Increased Minimum Wage
The California state minimum wage is scheduled to rise on January 1, 2021. The new minimum wage will be $14 an hour for employers with more than 26 employees, and $13 an hour for employers with fewer than 26 employees.
The above laws and changes are just some of the new regulations going into effect next year. Follow local news sources for ongoing information about updates to California state law.