Friday, January 1, 2010

California Businesses Face New Laws in 2010

Here are a few new laws that will affect California businesses in 2010.
1. The FEDERAL ESTATE TAX is eliminated for 2010 only. The tax has been gradually lowering for several years but the Democrat-controlled Congress is likely to let it return to its former 55% in 2011.
2. I-9 FORMS: Businesses that have federal contracts or subcontracts must use the E-Verify system when hiring employees. Other employers may use the verification system if they wish to do so. E-Verify compares Form I-9 document information against federal government databases to verify employment eligibility.
3. I-9 FORMS PART II: A new Form I-9 for noncitizin workers went into effect Aug. 7. The biggest difference is the updated list of verification documents a prospective employee can present when hired. The new law also specifies that documents used to establish identity or right to work cannot be expired.
4. TAXES: State tax withholding increased as of Nov. 1: 10% more for mandatory withholding, 0.6% increase in supplemental wage withholding and a 1.2% increase on stock options and bonus payments.
5. An ALTERNATIVE WORKWEEK schedule may be in place for less than a full year — for example, during the summer months only, according to an opinion from the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
6. FAMILY LEAVE: A new federal law changes the definition of which service members are covered for family leave:
  • Regular Armed Forces members are covered during deployment to a foreign country.
  • Reservists are covered when notified of an impending call to active duty in a foreign country or during that deployment.
7. WORK LEAVE: Employers with more than 15 employees must provide leave for employees who are volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol.
8. SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: California recognizes out-of-state marriages that are legal in the state where the marriage occurred. So SB 54 requires employers to give all the same rights and benefits to spouses of such marriages.
9. WORKERS COMP: Employers cannot deny workers’ comp coverage for an employee killed by a third party in the course of the employee’s work if the death was related to the employee’s race, religion, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, sex or sexual orientation.
If you have an questions or concerns about any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me at Email Out-House General Counsel or via the Google Voice Button on the right hand column of this blog.


  1. Thanks for posting this summary - very nice primer on the law changes for the New Year.