New Laws for the Employer-Employee Relationship in 2008

As with each new year, new laws go into effect governing the employer-employee relationship in California. This article will address some of those new laws but certainly not all of them. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to determine the extent any new laws apply to their business.

The minimum wage increases this year from $7.50 to $8.00 an hour. This is significant beyond simply serving as an increase in direct labor costs for those employees earning the minimum wage. The primary exemptions under California law, professional, administrative and executive, all require a minimum level of compensation. The minimum annual compensation an exempt employee must earn now rises from $31,200 to $33,280. If an exempt employee meets the duty requirement to qualify as exempt (e.g., no overtime or meal/rest period requirements), he/she also needs to earn $33,280 a year to maintain the exemption.

Employers with more than 25 employees are now required to provide each eligible employee with up to 10 days of unpaid leave when his/her spouse is on leave from military duty. The eligible employee must fulfill certain requirements before qualifying for this particular leave.

As of January 1st, an employer can use no more than the last four numbers of an employee's social security number on the employee's pay stub/statement. The employer has the option of using an employee identification number on the itemized statement in lieu of the employee's partial social security number.

New I-9 forms used to verify an employee's eligibility to work in the United States are now required. Failure to use the new forms can result in penalties for the employers. The new forms can be downloaded from the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (

Additional new laws on a federal and state level went into effect this year which are beyond the scope of this article. Employers should consult with their legal counsel to insure compliance with all new and existing laws governing the employer-employee relationship.

Bob Caietti is a partner in Walters & Caietti, APC, and can be contacted through the firm's Temecula office located at 40140 Winchester Road, Ste. C, 951.693.2024, or