New State Rules for Employing Minors
- By: Margaret E. Long, Partner
A new California law has created additional requirements for employers that have workers (including volunteers) under the age of 18.
AB 1963 amends the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act to add to the list of mandatory reporters a human resources employee and frontline supervisor of an agency with five or more workers and that employs minors.
This means that if an HR employee or supervisor, in their professional capacity or within the scope of their employment, has knowledge of or has observed a child whom they know, or reasonably suspect, has been the victim of child abuse or neglect, they must report it.
As defined by the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act, “child abuse” includes acts and omissions constituting physical abuse, sexual abuse (both sexual assault and sexual exploitation), willful cruelty or unjustified punishment, unlawful corporal punishment or injury, and neglect.
Employers subject to the law are also required to provide training to employees who have reporting duties under the law. The training must include training in both the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. The training requirement may be met by completing the general online training for mandated reporters offered by the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the State Department of Social Services.
If you do not have employees or volunteers under the age of 18, you are not required to conduct this training. If you have police/sheriff Explorer programs, you are required to conduct the training.
Failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of jail time, a fine of $1,000, or both imprisonment and a fine. Employers are also required under the new law to provide their employees who are mandatory reporters with training on identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect.
The new law takes effect January 1, 2021.