Laws and regulations can change often, so it is crucial to stay up to date regarding any new laws passed in California. In the upcoming year of 2022, there will be some changes to the current laws relevant to workers’ compensation. These changes are essential for everyone to understand—whether you are in the legal field or an employee in the state of California.
California Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Our attorneys at Kneisler and Schondel have been helping injured workers in California obtain workers’ compensation benefits for many years. Our attorneys are highly skilled in injury law and workers’ compensation. We know what it takes to fight for your legal rights. Contact our office today to set up a consultation to meet with one of our lawyers and learn more about how we can help you move forward with your California workers’ compensation case.
Changes to Minimum Wage
One of the most significant changes to employment laws that may impact workers in the state of California is that the state minimum wage is increasing to fifteen dollars per hour. This increase will begin on January 1, 2022.
However, the increase only applies to those working for employers with 26 or more employees. Employers with 25 or fewer employees must pay at least fourteen dollars per hour beginning on January 1, 2022. Additionally, there are cities and local governments throughout the state that have enacted minimum wage ordinances for an hourly wage that exceeds the statewide minimum wage.
If you are affected by the minimum wage increase, you may receive more compensation for work injuries occurring after the wage increase. This is because some of the workers’ compensation benefits, such as temporary disability and permanent disability, are based on an injured worker’s average weekly wage. With an increase in your wages, these benefits will also increase—assuming the injury happens after the law change.
Changes to the Classification of Independent Contractors
Assembly Bill 1561 makes a few different changes to state law regarding the proper classification of independent contractors. Specifically, changes are made to the application of the “ABC test” established through California state case law. The ABC test is a three-part test used to determine whether a worker is an employee of an independent contractor.
The first of these changes amends the professional services exemption from the ABC test to extend the provisions related to licensed manicurists three additional years to January 1, 2025. Additionally, this bill also amends Labor Code Section 2781, which governs contractor and subcontractor relationships in the construction industry. Currently, the ABC test does not apply in these cases, which will continue to be the case for all work performed prior to January 1, 2025, rather than ending on January 1, 2022, as stated previously.
The bill also extends the exemption for organizations or persons licensed by the Department of Insurance and persons who provide underwriting inspections, risk management, and other related tasks to also apply to those who provide third-party administration or claims adjusting.
Electronic Delivery of Workplace Notices
Another change for California workers to be aware of in 2022 is the new requirement that when an employer has to physically post information to let employees know about their rights under the law, it may also provide their employees with that information via email. These changes are outlined in Senate Bill 657. However, it is important to note that allowing employers to use email to notify workers of their rights does not negate the previously established obligation to post physical copies of notices in workplaces.
Increase in Temporary Total Disability Rates for 2022
Beginning with injuries occurring on January 1, 2022, the minimum and maximum temporary total disability rates are set to increase. For cases with injuries and illnesses with an onset date of January 1, 2022, the minimum temporary total disability rate will increase to $230.95 from $203.44. Additionally, the maximum temporary total disability rate will increase to $1,539.71 per week from $1,356.31.
The minimum and maximum rates for temporary total disability in connection with workers’ compensation cases in California are based on the percentage increase (or decrease) in the State Average Weekly Wage compared to the year before. In the 12 months ending on March 31, 2021, the State Average Weekly Wage increased from $1,383 to $1,570. This change amounted to about a 13.5% increase from the year before.
For any worker in the state of California, it is essential to stay informed about changes in state and federal law. Armed with this knowledge, you can ensure that you know your legal rights.