State Initiatives Herald Wide Array of Human Resources Public Policy Developments

November 06, 2020

Ballot measures passed this November contained several key policy initiatives, ranging from paid family leave, employee privacy, independent contractor status, recreational marijuana, and a first-of-its kind CEO tax.

San Francisco adopts CEO pay ratio tax:  Employers doing business in San Francisco will be required to pay a tax of 0.1%–0.6% of gross receipts there if their highest-paid managerial employee makes over 100 times more than the median compensation paid to their employees in the city.  The tax rate levied increases in increments of 0.1%, with a ratio of over 100:1 equating to a 0.1% tax increase, over 200:1 a 0.2% tax increase, and so forth.  Other localities could eventually follow suit.

Affirmative action voted down in California: California voters rejected reinstating the ability to consider race and sex in government hiring, government contracting, and public university admissions.

California app-based drivers retain independent contractor status: In 2019, California’s AB 5 imposed a broad “ABC” test for determining independent contractor status.  California voters chose to allow app-based drivers to retain their independent contractor status, provided companies provide certain drivers health care subsidies, limit working time, and abide by pay requirements, among other mandates.

Paid family leave passes in Colorado:  Colorado voters approved a measure mandating 12 weeks of paid family leave funded by evenly splitting a payroll tax of 0.9% between employers and employees.  An additional four weeks of leave are allowed for pregnancy or childbirth complications.  Colorado joins eight other states—CA, OR, WA, NY, MA, NJ, RI, CT—and the District of Columbia in establishing paid family leave requirements beyond the Family Medical Leave Act. 

Employee personal data excluded from California privacy law until 2023:  Californians opted to expand the California Consumer Privacy Act less than a year after it went into effect.  The sunset of the provision excluding employee personal data, however, has been pushed back to January 1, 2023.  

Recreational marijuana sweep:  New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voters all approved legalizing recreational marijuana.  The recreational use of cannabis is now legalized in 15 states and the District of Columbia, with more likely to follow.