Top 5 New Employment Laws Effective 1/1/18 & Good Faith Penalty Extended

California Governor Jerry Brown signed several significant employment bills that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018, and many businesses in the state will need to update their policies and practices accordingly. Here are the top five new state laws that HR professionals should start preparing for now:

1. A.B. 168: Salary history inquiries. Employers will no longer be able to ask job applicants about their current or prior earnings. Employers will also have to provide the pay scale for a position upon an applicant's request.

2. A.B. 450: Immigration enforcement. Employers will have to demand warrants and subpoenas from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents before any enforcement activities and will have to provide certain notices to employees and their union representatives.

3. A.B. 1008: Ban the box. Employers with at least five employees won't be allowed to consider a job applicant's criminal history until a conditional employment offer is made. If the employer decides to deny employment based on an applicant's criminal history, the employer must follow certain steps before making a final decision.

4. S.B. 63: New parent leave. Small businesses with 20-49 employees will have to provide 12 weeks of job-protected baby bonding leave within the first year following a child's birth, adoption or foster care placement.

5. S.B. 396: Gender identity and sexual orientation harassment training. Sexual harassment training is already required for employers with 50 or more employees. That will soon need to include training on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation harassment. Employers will also need to post a transgender rights notice in the workplace.

Now is a great time to go over your employee handbook. Check out Curated Compliance for our customizable employee handbook builders.

Good Faith Penalty Relief Also Extended The IRS has extended the due dates for furnishing 2017 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to covered individuals and full-time employees, respectively, from January 31, 2018, to March 2, 2018. The IRS has also extended good faith penalty relief to reporting entities who make certain calendar year 2017 information reporting errors. However, the deadline to file 2017 Forms 1095-B and 1095-C with the IRS remains February 28, 2018 (or April 2, 2018, if filing electronically).

Penalty Relief Extension The IRS has extended penalty relief to reporting entities that can show that they made good faith efforts to comply with the calendar year 2017 information reporting requirements (both for furnishing to individuals and for filing with the IRS). This relief applies to missing and inaccurate taxpayer identification numbers and dates of birth, as well as other information required on the return or statement.

Background Applicable large employers must use Form 1095-C to report information to their full-time employees about the health care coverage they have offered in a calendar year. Alternatively, Form 1095-B is used by insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide minimum essential health coverage to report information on this coverage to covered individuals. Employers subject to both reporting provisions (generally self-insured employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees) will satisfy their reporting obligations using Form 1095-C.