New Parental Leave & Salary History: Here’s What You Need to Know

October 23, 2017

Category: Compliance

News: Parental Leave & Salary History Inquiries

On October 12, California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills which will have significant ramifications for employers in the state. AB168, which applies to all public and private sector California employers, prohibits companies from seeking or relying upon the salary history information of an applicant in employment decisions. While SB 63, or the “New Parent Leave Act,” extends job-protected (unpaid) parental leave requirements to employers with 20-49 employees. Both laws are set to go into effect on January 1, 2018, and here’s what businesses need to know:

Salary History Inquiries (AB 168)

California is now part of a growing number of jurisdictions, including San Francisco (effective July 2017) and New York City (effective October 31, 2017), that prohibit employers from requesting an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. Under AB 168, employers may not rely on the salary history information of an applicant as a factor in their hiring or pay decisions.

NOTE: The bill does not preclude an applicant from voluntarily disclosing salary history information without prompting, or an employer, in turn, from relying upon this information in their decision.

Who is Covered?

The bill applies to all California employers, including state and local government employers.

What is Required from Employers?

Employers are prohibited from engaging in the following activities under the bill:

    • Relying on an applicant’s salary history information as a factor in their hiring and pay decision.
    • Requesting, orally, in writing, or through an agent, the salary history information of an applicant, including compensation and benefits.
  • NOTE: Employers are, however, required to provide a salary scale for a position if requested by an applicant.

New Parent Leave Act (SB 63)

SB 63 (“The Act”) extends certain rights granted under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) and California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”), to a new group of employees. Similar to CFRA and FMLA, SB 63 requires employers to grant eligible employees up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave, over a 12-month period, to bond with a new child within a year of birth, adoption, or placement. However, while CFRA and FMLA both apply to employers with 50 or more employees, SB 63 will now cover employers with 20 or more employees within 75 miles of a worksite.  

Who is Covered?

Private, state, and municipal employers that employ 20 or more individuals to perform services within 75 miles.

  • NOTE: The law will not apply to employers with 50 or more employees, as they will be covered under CFRA and the FMLA.

An employee is entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave, within a year of the birth, placement, or adoption of a new child if:

  • They have more than 12 months of service with a covered employer, and
  • have performed at least 1,250 hours of service over the prior 12 month period.
  • NOTE: The Act is limited to “parental leave” and does not provide employees with job-protected leave for other serious health conditions, as in CFRA or FMLA.

What is Required from Employers?

It is unlawful under the Act for a covered employer to refuse to grant a parental leave request by an eligible employee. Additionally, covered employers must:

  • Provide a guarantee of employment in “the same or comparable position” upon the employee’s return, on or before the leave commences.
  • Maintain and pay for an employee’s coverage under the group health plan, although they can recover premiums if the employee fails to return.
  • Allow employees to use paid sick time, accrued vacation pay, or other time off over the leave period.

When Do the New Parent Leave Act and Salary History Prohibition Go Into Effect?

January 1, 2018, which means that covered employers should revise their policies, and train their personnel accordingly.

Contact our HR Advisor team for further information on these and other regulations, and what you can do to further prepare your business.  

Interested in seeing Zenefits in action? Request a demo with one of our specialists today.


Anagha Krishnan is a Regulatory Analyst at Zenefits. She is focused on developments in the HR, Benefits, and Payroll space, and helping small businesses get in compliance with new regulations. A Berkeley Law grad, Anagha enjoys pop culture podcasts, trying out new tea blends, and getting to the beach when she can.

Category: Compliance

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