New Workplace Safety Laws in California

With Fall in full swing, it means legislative changes that affect small business owners and those they serve. At New Frontier, we help walk our customers through these changes as a part of our 4M consulting process. This week, we’re highlighting changes coming to wage and hour laws, which go into effect as soon as next year. In this post, let’s talk about SB 553 and the new workplace safety laws that are going into effect in 2024.

We’re here to help you navigate these legal changes and stay compliant with California law. As new laws are introduced and passed, we will be sure to update you on what you need to know.

Workplace Safety Laws Are Changing

On October 11, 2023, Governor Newsome signed SB 848 which allows for time off for reproductive associated losses.

An expansion of California’s current bereavement law, SB 848 will help those dealing with an unexpected loss time off.

SB 848 – Reproductive Loss

An excerpt from the law reads:

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by any employee to take up to five days of reproductive loss leave following a reproductive loss event.SB 553 requires the need for businesses to create a workplace violence safety prevention program, among several other notable considerations.

Other notable considerations:

  1. This will affect any California employee with 5 or more employees
  2. “Reproductive loss event” is defined to mean a failed adoption, failed surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or unsuccessful assisted reproduction.
  3. An employee may use, in addition to the reproductive loss leave, any vacation, personal leave, accrued and available sick leave, or compensatory time off that is available to the employee.
  4. It is recommended that employers review their handbook to ensure compliance.

Read more here.


SB 848 Overview

When does SB 848 Go Into Effect?

Like most bills, SB 848 will go into effect on January 1, 2024. We strongly advise that employers begin the review policy now so that they are in compliance on January 1.


Implementing SB 848

Please keep in mind that unlike other forms of leave, including bereavement leave, employees taking time off for reproductive loss do not have to provide documentation. Additionally, confidentiality is required and employers must ensure employee confidentiality throughout the process.

Step one is to make sure your policies and handbook are up to date and reflect the upcoming changes. While it is good to regularly redo and update an employee handbook, the time heading into 2024 is vital. There are many new labor law changes coming, and SB 848 is one of many that will require special attention. As with most things, being proactive is best.

You can read more about upcoming changes by reading other articles we’ve written:

Get the latest on the New Frontier Blog.


More Changes Coming

More changes are coming to California law. We will be highlighting these changes throughout the rest of the year to help business owners get prepared for the road ahead. Stay tuned for more legislative updates. As always, if you have any questions, please be sure to contact us. We help your small business navigate the complexity of the HR landscape in California so you can sleep soundly and focus on what matters.