California Employers – New Labor Laws For 2024 

Increase in Number of Employee Paid Sick Days | SB-616 Effective January 1, 2024 

The new law guarantees employees five paid sick days per year, up from three days.  


New Leave for Reproductive Loss | SB 848 Effective January 1, 2024 

A subset of California’s bereavement leave law allows up to five days off work for reproductive-related losses, such as miscarriage or stillbirth.  

  • California employers with five or more employees are covered under the law.  
  • Only employees who have worked for the employer for at least 30 days are eligible for reproductive loss leave. 


Employers Cannot Ask About Marijuana Use When Hiring/Screening Applicants | SB 700 Effective January 1, 2024 

Prohibits employers from asking job applicants or employees about their prior marijuana use. Employers cannot seek any information about marijuana use from applicants: 

  • Cannot include questions about use on employment applications.
  • Cannot include questions about use during an interview.  
  • There should be no consideration of previous criminal convictions for marijuana use or possession. 
  • Employers may conduct pre-employment drug screening but only with testing methods that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites [CBD] in a person’s hair, blood, or urine. 


Employers Cannot Fire, Discipline, or Demote a Worker for Using Cannabis Off the Job and Away from the Workplace | AB 2188 Effective April 1, 2024 

Recreational use of marijuana has been legal in California since 2016. While off-duty use is legally protected, the new bill allows employers to fire or suspend workers for possessing, using or being impaired by marijuana while at work.  

  • Employers can require employees not to possess, use or be impaired by marijuana at the worksite during work hours. Employers may focus on impairment that impacts performance and attendance issues, including slurred speech, incoherent speech, swaying, stumbling, or sleeping at work.  
  • Marijuana products with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) should not be confused with CBD (cannabidiol) products. THC is the component responsible for euphoria and intoxication and can cause workplace impairment. CBD is not intoxicating and does not lead to addiction or impairment. 
  • The bill prohibits employers from discriminating against an applicant or employee who fails a drug test that detects non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites [CBD] in their urine, blood, hair, or bodily fluids.  


Minimum Wage Increase for Fast-Food Workers  | AB 1228  Effective April 1, 2024 

The new law sets a $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers and mandates minimum wage increases annually until 2029. Increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index.  

  • The law applies to chains of limited-service restaurants consisting of more than 60 establishments that share common branding, marketing, and products.  
  • The law also establishes the California Fast Food Council, which will set these hourly minimum wages and implement health, safety, and employment standards for fast-food restaurants.  


Minimum Wage Increase for Health Care Workers | SB 525 Effective June 1, 2024 

Raises the minimum wage for nearly all healthcare employees—hourly and salaried—and provides employees a private right of action to enforce the minimum wage requirements. 

California defines a “covered health care employee” as an employee of a facility that provides patient care, health care services, or other services supporting the provision of health care.   

  • Law also applies to workers who provide tangential support to healthcare facilities, including janitors, housekeepers, groundskeepers, guards, clerical workers, nonmanagerial administrative workers, food service workers, gift shop workers, technical and ancillary services workers, medical coding and medical billing personnel, schedulers, call centers and warehouse workers, and laundry workers.  
  • Law also includes independent contractors if there is a contract with the health care facility to provide health care services or services supporting the provision of health care and if the health care facility directly or indirectly exercises control over the contractors’ wages, hours, or working conditions. 


Cardinal Services is here to help you stay compliant with these new laws! 

If you have questions about how these laws may apply to your company, call us at (800) 342-4742 and ask to speak to one of our HR Specialists.