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New Hire Paperwork: California

New Hire Paperwork requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Jennifer K. Achtert, formerly of Fisher Phillips

Summary

  • California law requires that new employees receive or complete a significant amount of paperwork at the time of hire. While many of the requirements are the same as under federal law, there are a number of California-specific requirements that employers must not overlook. See Documents to Provide to New Employees.
  • Localities including Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have requirements pertaining to new hire notices. See Local Requirements.

Documents to Provide to New Employees

In addition to the paperwork that employers should obtain from new employees or should be completed by employers under federal law, there are several California-specific documents that should also be obtained and completed. In particular, all employers in California are required to provide the following documents to new employees:

California also provides these pamphlets in Spanish and some additional languages.

Also, information on sexual harassment prevention and employee rights must be delivered in a manner that ensures distribution to each employee, such as including the information sheet or information with an employee's pay. An employer may either distribute the DFEH-185 -Sexual Harassment Brochure to new hires and current employees or develop an equivalent document that meets the law's requirements. An employer may also distribute the California Sexual Harassment Poster.

California Family Rights Act Notice

An employer covered under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is required to post a notice explaining CFRA's provisions and providing information concerning the procedures for filing complaints of violations of the Act with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The posting must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees are employed. Electronic posting is sufficient. If the employer publishes an employee handbook that describes other kinds of personal or disability leaves available to its employees, it must include a description of CFRA leave in the next edition of its handbook it publishes after July 1, 2015. The employer may include both pregnancy disability leave and CFRA leave requirements in a single notice.

An employer is also encouraged to give a copy of the notice to each current and new employee, ensure that copies are otherwise available to each current and new employee, and disseminate the notice in any other way. See FMLA: California; Other Leaves: California; Employee Communications: California.

Pregnancy Rights Notice

California employers with five or more employees are required to provide notice to their employees of the right to request a reasonable accommodation, pregnancy disability leave or transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position. This notice must be posted in a conspicuous place where employees are employed. Employers that have employee handbooks describing other kinds of personal or disability leaves available to their employees are required to include information about pregnancy leave rights in their handbooks. In the alternative, employers may distribute a copy of its notice annually, which may be done by electronic mail.

California Paid Sick Leave Law

California passed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. +Cal Lab Code § 246. See Other Leaves: California. Subject to certain exceptions, a California employee who has worked 30 or more days in California within a year of employment will accrue paid sick leave. An employee would be entitled to use accrued sick days beginning on the 90th day of employment.

The law includes notice provisions for employers. Employers are required to display a poster in a conspicuous place. +Cal Lab Code § 247. See Employee Communications: California.

Also, an employer must provide a written notice to each employee upon hire regarding employee rights under the Act. +Cal Lab Code § 246. An employer may choose to issue the notice to all employees or it may choose another writing permitted under +Cal Lab Code § 2810.5 (b), such as by providing notice of the change in a pay stub or itemized wage statement, so long as the same paid sick leave information that is contained in the revised notice is contained in the applicable writing.

Additionally, an employer must provide notice to each employee with each wage payment. This notice contains the amount of accrued and available paid sick leave, or paid time off (PTO) leave provided in lieu of sick leave. The employer may provide this notice either on the employee's itemized wage statement or in a separate document provided on the designated pay date along with the employee's payment of wages. +Cal Lab Code § 246.

Emeryville, Oakland and San Diego also have new hire notice requirements regarding sick leave. See Local Requirements.

Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation Prevention Policy

An employer must develop a harassment, discrimination and retaliation prevention policy that:

  • Is in writing;
  • Lists all current protected categories covered under the Act;
  • Indicates that the law covers co-workers, third parties, supervisors and managers;
  • Creates a complaint process;
  • Provides a complaint process that does not require an employee to complain to his or her immediate supervisor;
  • Instructs supervisors to report any complaints of misconduct to a designated company representative, such as HR, so that the employer may try to resolve the complaint internally;
  • States that fair, timely and thorough investigations will be conducted with respect to misconduct allegations;
  • States that confidentiality will be kept by the employer to the extent legally permissible; and
  • States that if at the end of an investigation misconduct is found, appropriate measures will be taken.

The policy must be distributed using one or more of the following methods:

  • Printing and providing a copy to all employees with an acknowledgment form for the employee to sign and return;
  • Sending the policy via e-mail with an acknowledgment return form;
  • Posting current versions of the policies on a company intranet with a tracking system ensuring all employees have read and acknowledged receipt of the policies;
  • Discussing policies upon hire and/or during a new hire orientation session; and/or
  • Any other way that ensures employees receive and understand the policies.

An employer must translate the policy into a language other than English if 10 percent or more of the workforce at any facility or establishment speaks that language.

Domestic Violence Leave Notice

Amendments to the Victims of Domestic Violence Employment Leave Act require an employer with 25 or more employees to provide notice to those employees of their rights under the law. The information must be provided to new employees upon hire and to an employee upon request.

If an employer elects not to use the form developed by the Labor Commissioner, it must provide a notice that is clear, concise and substantially similar in content and clarity to the Commissioner's form. +Cal Lab Code § 230.1.

Documents to Obtain From New Employees

Employers should and, in some instances, must obtain a number of documents from new employees. These documents include the following:

  • The California Employee Withholding form, DE-4, is optional. However, employers must accept it if it is turned in.
  • Acknowledgement of receipt of employee handbook, indicating that employment is at-will, if there is no contract.
  • Acknowledgement of receipt of relevant policies, e.g., drug policy, social media policy and meal period policy.
  • Consent form for drug and alcohol screening, if applicable.
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act form, if appropriate. Employers should be sure to retain the results once received, as well.
  • Signed employment contract, if applicable.
  • Illness-and injury-prevention program form.
  • Work permit for minors.

Notification Regarding CalSavers Retirement Savings Program

Pursuant to the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program, employers with at least five employees that do not offer a private workplace retirement savings plan (i.e., qualified employers) are required to facilitate optional employee contributions, through post-tax payroll deductions, to individual retirement accounts (IRAs) run by the state. The CalSavers nine-member board provides employer registration materials on it's website, including information packets for existing employees and opt-out forms for employees who choose not to participate. Qualified employers are required to provide the materials to existing employees and to new hires at the time of hiring. Employees must acknowledge that they have received the materials by either opting in or opting out. Employees who do not opt out will be auto-enrolled after 30 days.

See Payment of Wages: California.

Local Requirements

Belmont Minimum Wage Notice

Under the Belmont minimum wage ordinance covered employers are required to provide written notification to each current employee, and to each new employee at time of hire, of his or her rights under the ordinance. Employers are also required to post the notice prominently in areas at the work site where it will be seen by all employees.

Covered employers must also provide employees at the time of hire with the employer's name, address, and telephone number in writing.

See Minimum Wage: California.

Berkeley Minimum Wage Notice

Berkeley's minimum wage ordinance requires every employer with employees within the geographic boundaries of Berkeley to provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. Every employer is also required to conspicuously post the Minimum Wage Poster at any workplace or job site in the city where any employee works. The notice must be posted in any language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the workplace or jobsite.

Berkeley Paid Sick Leave Notice

Under the City of Berkeley's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (BPSLO), employers with 25 or more employees during a given week must provide up to 72 hours of paid sick leave per year, while smaller employers with 24 or fewer employees during a given week must provide up to 48 hours. An employer must post the City-created notice informing employees of their rights to paid sick leave. The notice must be posted in a conspicuous place (e.g., a break room or an area whether notices are typically placed) at any workplace or job site in Berkeley where any employee works. The notice must be posted in any language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the workplace or job site.

If an employee does not have a regular physical location where he or she performs work, then the employer must provide a copy of the notice when the employee is hired or assigned to complete work in Berkeley. The notice must be provided before the employee begins to work in Berkeley and must be provided in the language most easily comprehended by the employee.

Each pay period, an employer must indicate, in writing, how much paid sick leave an employee has accrued to date.  Such indication may be on an employee's paystub or by any other records the employer provides to employees at the end of each pay period.

See Other Leaves: California.

Berkeley, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 13.100.060.

Cupertino Minimum Wage Notice

Cupertino's minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Covered employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.

Daly City Minimum Wage Ordinance

Daly City has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice-posting requirements for employers. Daly City, California Code of Ordinances Section 8.76.030, as enacted by Ordinance 2018-1425; see Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance will be enforced as of February 13, 2019.

Covered employers must inform employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights under the ordinance. An employer must inform employees of their rights under the ordinance by:

  • Posting a notice;
  • Providing written notification to each current employee; and
  • Providing written notification to each new hire.

The City makes available a model notice for use by employers.

Failure to post the notice constitutes a violation of the ordinance and may result in enforcement action.

El Cerrito Minimum Wage Notice

Under the El Cerrito minimum wage ordinance every covered employer must provide new hires with its name, address, and telephone number in writing.See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance also contains notice posting requirements. See Employee Communications: California.

+El Cerrito, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 6.95.060.

Emeryville Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Notice

Emeryville passed a Minimum Wage, Paid Sick Leave, and Other Employment Standards Ordinance. Emeryville, California Code of Ordinances Chapter 37, Title 5. An employer is required to provide written notification to current employees and to each new hire at the time of hire, of their rights under this ordinance. The notification must be in English and in all languages spoken by 10% or more of the workplace's employees. The notice must be posted prominently in the workplace, in areas seen by employees. Emeryville has prepared sample notices for an employer to use. Every employer is also required to provide to each new hire the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. For more detailed information regarding the paid sick leave and minimum wage provisions respectively see Other Leaves: California and Minimum Wage: California.

Los Altos Minimum Wage Notice

Los Altos has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Covered employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements informing employees of the current minimum wage rate and of their rights. +Los Altos, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 3.50.060.

Los Angeles Minimum Wage Notice

Under the Los Angeles minimum wage ordinance every covered employer must provide new hires with its name, address, and telephone number in writing. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance also contains notice posting requirements. See Employee Communications: California.

Milpitas Minimum Wage Notice

Milpitas passed a minimum wage ordinance that contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Under the ordinance, covered employers are required to provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address, and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.

Mountain View Minimum Wage New Hire Notice

Mountain View's minimum wage ordinance contains notice-posting requirements for employers. +Mountain View, California Code of Ordinances SEC. 42.17. Employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.See Employee Communications: California.

Oakland Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Notice

Oakland employers are required to provide paid sick leave to their employees under the terms of a ballot measure. +Oakland, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 5.92.030. In addition, voters established a minimum wage for Oakland. See Minimum Wage: California.

An employer must provide written notification to current employees and to each new employee at the time of hire of his or her rights under the measure. The notification must be in all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the workforce. Employers must prominently post and provide notice to employees of their rights to paid sick leave and minimum wage. +Oakland, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 5.92.050.

Palo Alto Minimum Wage Notice

Palo Alto's minimum wage ordinance contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Covered employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.

Redwood City Minimum Wage Notice

Redwood City has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains new hire notice requirements for employers. Redwood City, California Code of Ordinances Sec. 46.060, as enacted by Ordinance 2018-2443. The first increase is set for January 1, 2019. Under the minimum wage ordinance every covered employer must provide new hires with its name, address, and telephone number in writing. See Minimum Wage: California. The ordinance also contains notice-posting requirements. See Employee Communications: California.

San Diego Earned Sick Leave New Hire Notice

San Diego voters approved and the City Council passed Proposition I, the City of San Diego Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage Ordinance. See Other Leaves: California. An employer must provide a written notice to employees by October 1, 2016, or the time of hire, whichever is later, of the employer's legal name and any fictitious business names, address and telephone number, and information on how the employer satisfies the ordinance's requirements (e.g., the employer's chosen method of earned sick leave accrual).

The notice must be provided in English, Spanish and any other language spoken by at least five percent of the employees at the employee's job site. Employers may provide this notice through an accessible electronic communication in lieu of a paper notice.

An employer must also post two notices, the San Diego, California, Minimum Wage Notice Poster and the San Diego, California, Earned Sick Leave Notice Poster.

San Diego, California Municipal Code Sec. 39.0108.

San Francisco Notices

Fair Chance Ordinance. San Francisco's Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) prohibits employers from asking about or obtaining the conviction history of job applicants until after their first live interview or after a conditional employment offer. See Employment Offer: California. The FCO applies to private employers in the city with 20 or more employees (regardless of location). Prior to making a conviction history inquiry, an employer is required to provide a copy of a notice that informs applicants and employees of their rights under this ordinance. This notice must also be posted in a conspicuous manner, in a place accessible to job applicants and employees. An employer in a workplace that is unionized or partially unionized should send this notice to each labor union or representative with which it has a collective bargaining agreement that is applicable to San Francisco employees.

Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances. Also, the San Francisco Formula Retail Employee Rights Ordinances (also known as the Retail Workers Bill of Rights) requires certain chain stores with at least 40 retail establishments worldwide to provide their employees in the city prior to the start of employment an initial estimate of the employees' expected minimum number scheduled shifts per month, and the days and hours of those shifts. See Managing Employees in Special Situations: Federal; San Francisco, California Police Code SEC. 3300G.1, as amended by City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors Ordinance 141024.

Lactation in the Workplace Ordinance. Further, under San Francisco's lactation in the workplace ordinance an employer is required to develop and implement a written lactation accommodation policy that sets forth:

  • The right of employees to request a lactation accommodation;
  • The specific manner and means by which an employee may submit a request for a lactation accommodation;
  • That an employer must respond to a lactation accommodation request within five business days;
  • A requirement that the employer and employee engage in an interactive process to determine the appropriate lactation break periods and location;
  • That if an employer is unable provide the requested lactation accommodation, the employer must provide the employee a written response identifying the basis upon which the employer has denied the request; and
  • That an employer is prohibited from retaliating against an employee for exercising his or her rights under the ordinance.

An employer is required to distribute the policy to all employees upon hiring and the policy must be provided to any employee inquiring about or requesting pregnancy or parental leave. An employer is also required to update its employee handbook to include the new lactation policy.

For further detailed information regarding the ordinance requirements see EEO - Discrimination: California.

San Leandro Minimum Wage Notice

San Leandro's minimum wage ordinance contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Under the ordinance, covered employers are required to provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address, and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.

San Mateo Minimum Wage Notice

San Mateo's minimum wage ordinance contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Covered employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. Employers are also required to give new hires notice of their rights under the minimum wage ordinance and post the notice prominently in areas in the work site where it will be seen by all employees.

Santa Monica Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Notice

Santa Monica's minimum wage ordinance, which also contains paid sick leave provisions, requires a covered employer to provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements. See Minimum Wage: California;Other Leaves: California.

Santa Clara Minimum Wage Notice

Santa Clara's minimum wage ordinance contains notice requirements for employers. See Minimum Wage: California. Covered employers must provide each employee at the time of hire with the employer's name, address and telephone number in writing. There are also posting requirements.

Future Developments

Oakland Hotel Workers Notice

Voters in the City of Oakland passed approved Measure Z (Measure) establishing workplace protections and minimum hourly wage for employees of hotels with 50 or more guest rooms. The law is effective July 1, 2020. For details regarding this Measure see HR and Workplace Safety: California.

Among other things, the Measure will require a hotel employer to give written notification to each current hotel employee, and to each new hotel employee at the time of hire of his or her rights under the law. The notification must be in each language spoken by more than 10 percent of 10 hotel employees at the hotel, whichever is less.

Hotel employer is defined as a person who owns, controls, and/or operates a hotel in the City of Oakland, or a person who owns, controls and/or operates any contracted, leased or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the hotel's purpose, or a person, other than a hotel employee, who provides services at the hotel.

Hotel employee is defined as any individual who:

  • Is employed directly by the hotel employer or by a person who has contracted with the hotel employer to provide services at a hotel in the City of Oakland; and
  • Was hired to or did work an average five hours a week for four weeks at one or more hotels.

Oakland, California, Code of Ordinances Sec. 5.93.020(A).

Petaluma Minimum Wage Notice

Petaluma has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains new hire notice requirements for employers. Petaluma, California Code of Ordinances Section 8.35.080. The minimum wage requirements are enforced as of January 1, 2020. New hire notice requirements take effect September 12, 2019.

Specifically, each employer must give written notification of employee rights under the ordinance to each current employee and to each new hire. The notification must be:

  • In all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the employer's employees; and
  • Posted prominently in areas at the work site where it will be seen by all employees.

The City will publish a downloadable notice suitable for use by employers. The notice will be made available in English, Spanish and other languages required by regulation.

Covered employers must provide each covered employee, upon hire and annually, a written notification setting forth the:

  • Employer's:
    • Legal name;
    • Address;
    • Telephone number; and
  • Name and contact information for a person responsible for inquiries concerning compliance with the ordinance.

See Minimum Wage: California; Employee Communications: California; Petaluma, California Municipal Code Chapter 8.35, as enacted by Ordinance 2691.

Sonoma Minimum Wage Notice

Sonoma has passed a minimum wage ordinance, which contains new hire requirements for employers. Sonoma, California Code of Ordinances Section 2.80.080. The ordinance will be enforced as of January 1, 2020.

Specifically, each employer must give written notification of employee rights under the ordinance to each current employee and to each new hire. The notification must be:

  • In all languages spoken by more than 10 percent of the employer's employees; and
  • Posted prominently in areas at the work site where it will be seen by all employees.

The City will publish a downloadable notice suitable for use by employers. The notice will be made available in English, Spanish and other languages required by regulation.

Covered employers must provide each covered employee, upon hire and annually, a written notification setting forth the:

  • Employer's:
    • Legal name;
    • Address;
    • Telephone number; and
  • Name and contact information for a person responsible for inquiries concerning compliance with the ordinance.

See Minimum Wage: California; Employee Communications: California.

Additional Resources

New Hire Paperwork: Federal

California Workplace Notices

California Employment Development Department

California Fair Employment and Housing

California Division of Industrial Relations