New California Business Laws Take Effect in 2014

Business owners in California should take note of new laws that will begin to affect daily operations in 2014. On November 5, the California Chamber of Commerce released a list of new regulations that will take effect starting January 1, with some being phased in later. We will be seeing changes in several key areas of California business law, such as employee rights and the new minimum wage. As business attorneys in Temecula and throughout Southern California, we recommend that all employers familiarize themselves with new regulations in order to prevent violations.

Possibly the biggest news is the increase in California’s minimum wage. This will happen in two phases, with minimum wage being raised to 9 dollars per hour on July 1, 2014. Minimum wage will increase again to 10 dollars per hour, starting January 1, 2016. Employers should be careful about calculation for their lowest paid exempt workers too.

New laws have also been passed regarding minimum wage violations. When given a citation by the Labor Commissioner for failure to pay minimum wage, the employer will be required to pay liquidated damages to the employee in addition to already-established penalties. A $10,000 civil penalty will be imposed upon employers for each violation of wage law. Once a decision has been reached and an award has been granted by the court, a lien could be placed on the employer’s real property.

As for employer rights, an employer who wins a wage-claim lawsuit may be able to recover attorney’s fees an employee if it is found that the employee filed the suit in bad faith.

In addition to increases in the state’s minimum wage, changes have also been made in California’s prevailing wage. The prevailing wage is usually significantly higher than minimum wage and must be paid to employees who perform service or construction work for the federal government, public entities, or privately financed refinery construction projects. Since rules concerning the prevailing wage are complicated and involve many new changes, having an experienced business attorney on your side can help protect a business from violations.

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