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What new California workplace laws mean for you




New workplace laws will take effect starting Jan 1, 2018. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
New workplace laws will take effect starting Jan 1, 2018. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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As many Californians return to work in the new year, some changes are kicking in. 

Starting January 1, more than a dozen new laws will take effect that could have big impacts on parents, former inmates and entry-level job seekers.  

Take Two talked with Ben Adler, Capitol bureau chief at Capitol Public Radio, to go over what's new in the workplace.

Former inmates

New state law prohibits employers from inquiring about or even considering a job applicant's criminal record until a conditional job offer has been made. The employer ultimately could withdraw the job offer after a background check. The thinking is that this process gives the hiring manager a chance to get to know the job seeker instead of forming a quick impression based on criminal history. Advocates also say it paves the way for true rehabilitation and re-entry into society after serving time.

Pay history

Generally, women are paid less than men for doing similar jobs. If a woman's salary from a previous job is taken into account when she applies for a new job, the new employer may be perpetuating that pay imbalance, even if that's unintentional. By removing salary history from consideration, it gives men and women an equal shot at an open position.

Parental leave

Before 2018, only companies with 50 or more employees were required to give employees protected parental leave, meaning those employees don't risk losing their jobs while taking time off as a new parent. Now that applies to small- to mid-size companies, with 20 to 49 employees. Companies with fewer than 20 employees are not required to provide protected parental leave for workers. 

Minimum wage

California's minimum wage is going up by 50 cents an hour ($11 per hour for businesses with more than 26 employees, $10.50 per hour for businesses with 25 employees or less). However, many cities, including Los Angeles, already have a higher minimum wage. The new law will impact those working in rural areas more.