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California's 2023 employment laws, explained: Minimum wage increases, workers rights

Hundreds of bills were signed into CA law, many of which will go into effect in 2023 and include laws relating to pay and rights for workers.

SAN DIEGO — New year, new laws... and beginning in 2023, California workers have more power to fight for protections and transparency.

AB-257: FAST Recovery Act

Summary: Assembly Bill 257: Fast food workers will have more power to fight for wages up to $22 per hour and better working conditions. The new law paves the way for a special council to set minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions. 

The law was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Labor Day. Newsom signed the bill to regulate fast food industry working conditions and establish a council to examine pushing the minimum wage to as much as $22 per hour.

Current law: The fast food industry at-large creates a difficult path for labor organizing to fight for worker's rights in California. 

What's new: The law established California’s Fast Food Council, a 10-member council set up to create standards for wages, hours, and conditions in the fast food industry. The law provides protections for workers who are victims of sexual harassment, wage theft, safety issues and other hazards. 

Big corporations like In-N-Out and Starbucks have backed legal challenges that would put the bill back on the ballot for voters to decide on in 2024.

SB-1162: Salary and Wages

Summary: Senate Bill 1162 requires California companies with more than 15 employees to post salary scales and ranges for job listings. The law aims at creating pay equity and more transparency for workers and prospective employees, especially women, and people of color. The law also requires companies to report pay data to better identify gender and race pay disparities.

Current law: Under existing California law, employers were required to disclose pay scales to an applicant only under reasonable request.

What's new: Senate Bill 1162 applies to all employers in California's private sector with 15 or more employees. Employers are also required to maintain job title and wage history records for each employee. The bill expands transparency laws and mandates pay data reporting by employee sex, race and ethnicity. 


WATCH RELATED: Fast food workers strike, protesting effort to overturn California labor law (Nov. 2022).

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