The last two weeks have been busy on the California employment law front, and California employers must remain vigilant about new employment law developments still going forward this summer.  As we enter the second half of 2022, here are five issues California employers need to pay attention to:

1. IRS mileage rate increases July 1, 2022 to 62.5 cents per mile.

On June 9, 2022, the IRS announced that it will be raising the mileage rate effective July 1, 2022.  The IRS mileage rate will increase from 58.5 cents per mile to 62.5 cents per mile from July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022.

As gas prices continue to rise to historic highs, employers with employees driving for work purposes, need to ensure their mileage reimbursement polices are current.  More information about California employers’ obligation to pay for mileage reimbursement, and the seminal California Supreme Court decision on the issue, Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc., see our prior post here.

2. Deadline for small employers to register for CalSavers is June 30, 2022.

California employers are required to register for the CalSavers retirement savings program, if they have 5 or more employees and do not sponsor a retirement plan.  Employers with 5 or more employees must register for the program by June 30, 2022.  Employers with over 100 employees were required to register by September 30, 2020, employers with more than 50 employees were required to register by June 30, 2021.  The state has begun to issue citations, which start at $250 per employee, and can increase to $750 per employee.

3. Many local minimum wage increases effective July 1, 2022.

As we have previously written about here, many local cities and counties throughout California are raising their minimum wages on July 1, 2022.  Employers need to review their jurisdictions to ensure compliance with the applicable minimum wage.

In addition, the City of West Hollywood is also increasing the amount of paid leave required to be paid to employees.  The City’s website explains, “Beginning July 1, 2022, full time employees for all businesses are to be provided at least 96 compensated hours and 80 uncompensated hours per year for sick leave, vacation, or personal necessity. Part-time employees are to be provided compensated and uncompensated hours in increments proportional to that accrued by someone who works 40 hours in a week.”  More information about West Hollywood’s minimum wage and paid leave is provided on the City’s website here.

4. Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) training required for alcohol servers starting July 1, 2022.

The RBS “training teaches servers to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and mitigate alcohol-related harm in California communities”.  The Alcoholic Beverage Control requires that beginning July 1, 2022, any ABC licensee who has an “ABC On-Premises License” will be required to ensure specific staff (alcohol servers and managers of alcohol servers) have received training from an ABC approved RBS Training Provider within 60 days of employment. This includes staff employed prior to July 1, 2022.  More information can be found at the ABC’s website here.

5. Bill proposed to create council to regulate California “fast food restaurants” continues in California Legislature.

AB 257, termed the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act or FAST Recovery Act, proposes to establish a Fast Food Sector Council within the Department of Industrial Relations is making it way through the California Legislature.  If passed, the bill would create a council composed of 11 members appointed by the Governor.  The council would define which fast food restaurants it would regulate, and would set standards for minimum wages, working hours, “and other working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of” fast food establishments.  In addition, the bill also creates joint liability for franchisors and provides a private right of action for employees to sue for discrimination or retaliation.

Moreover, as drafted, the bill defines “fast food chain” as “a set of restaurants consisting of 30 or more establishments nationally that share a common brand, or that are characterized by standardized options for decor, marketing, packaging, products, and services.”  The bill would add another layer of complexity for these restaurants in addition to the existing Labor Code and is a proposed law restaurant operators of all types should closely monitor this summer.