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New laws in 2021: California’s minimum wage has risen


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Other new laws require COVID-19 exposure notifications, address traffic safety, ban chokeholds by police


Finally, 2020 is in the rearview mirror.

Legislation approved and signed in 2020 often takes effect on Jan. 1 (unless there is an urgency clause).


Here’s a rundown of some of the new laws that will be on the books in 2021:

Pay increases

Minimum wage workers will see another incremental step moving closer to the goal of $15 hourly wages. Starting Jan. 1, businesses with 26 or more employees will be required to pay employees $14 per hour; businesses with 25 or fewer employees move to $13 per hour.


The bill creating the incremental increases was approved in 2016. And all minimum wage workers in the state are expected to reach $15 per hour by 2023.


Some jurisdictions across the state have higher wages, although none of those places are in Humboldt County.


Assembly Bill 685 mandates employers to notify employees within one day of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.


“In the age of COVID-19, our essential workers risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones in our fields, hospitals, grocery stores, meatpacking plants, restaurant kitchens and countless other businesses in our state,” said Assemblymember Eloise Reyes (D-San Bernardino), the bill’s author, in a prepared statement. “… By notifying the public and workers of potential exposures as required under AB 685, we allow workers to take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their loved ones while also bolstering the response of public health officials.”

Highway safety

Assembly Bill 2285 mandates fines for drivers who do not attempt to slow down or change lanes, if possible, when they approach a Caltrans vehicle, tow truck, or emergency vehicle with lights blinking. The law does not require drivers to change lanes, but it is encouraged. Drivers are required to slow down. Failure to do so could result in a $50 fine from California Highway Patrol.


The Rest of the Story can be found here.


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