Chapter 4:
Employee Notice Requirements for California Employers

Updated as of June 2006

This chapter covers only notices that are required to be given to and/or mailed to employees. Notice requirements that must be posted are covered in Employers Group posting requirements listings. This list does not include tax forms that are required by State or Federal taxing agencies. See Chapter 5 for additional notices under federal law.

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

  • Employees laid off, discharged or placed on a leave of absence must receive the pamphlet "For Your Benefit -- California's Programs for the Unemployed" (DE 2320) by the effective date of the job separation (U.I. Code § 1089).

  • A "Change of Status Notice" must be given to all employees whose employment status has changed, including those who are laid off, discharged, placed on leave of absence, or changed to Independent Contractor status by the effective date of the action (U.I. Code § 1089).

State Disability Insurance (SDI)

  • Employer must provide the brochure "State Disability Insurance Provisions" (DE 2515) to new employees within five working days of employment date. Also, the pamphlet must be given to any employee who becomes disabled due to pregnancy or is ill or injured from causes unrelated to work within ten days of the absence, provided that the employer has been notified of the cause of the absence (U.I. Code § 1089).

Paid Family Leave (PFL) aka Family Temporary Disability Insurance (FTDI)

  • Employers must provide all new hires an EDD informational brochure on California's new paid family leave program. Employers must also give the brochure to any employees required to be off work to care for a sick or injured family member or to bond with a new child (U.I. Code § 2613).

Workers' Compensation Insurance (WC)

  • New Employee Notice: New employees, either at the time of hire or by the end of the first pay period must receive the pamphlet "Facts about Workers' Comp." (90-58882) (8 CA Code of Regs. § 9880).

  • Physician Predesignation: Employers must provide all new hires a notice informing them of their right to predesignate a personal physician for any work-related injuries (CA Labor Code § 4601).

  • Injured Worker Notice: Employers are required to provide to an injured worker (personally or via first-class mail) a claim form and a notice of potential eligibility benefits, within one working day of receiving notice or knowledge of an injury that results in time lost beyond the employee's work shift, or treatment beyond first aid (CA Labor Code § 5401). Within five working days of notice or knowledge of any injury, the employer shall advise the employee of the compensation to which he or she may be entitled and the rights, benefits, and obligations under the workers' compensation law (8 CA Code of Regs. § 9882).

  • Workplace Crime Notice: Requires every employer to give any employee who is a victim of a crime that occurred at the employee's place of employment a written notice that the employee is eligible for workers' compensation for injuries that are the result of a workplace crime (CA Labor Code § 3553).

  • Injury Report: Employees must be given "Employee's Claim for Workers' Compensation Benefits" (DWC – 1) within one working day of the employer receiving notice or knowledge of workers' compensation injury that results in a loss of time beyond the date of injury or which results in medical treatment beyond first aid (CA Labor Code § 5401).

Insurance Notices

  • Cal-COBRA - State: If an employer changes insurance policies during a qualified beneficiary's continuation period, the employer must notify the individual of their right to continue coverage under the new policy.

  • Cal-COBRA - State: Employers are required to notify, in writing, employees who are at least age 60 and have been employed at least 5 years by the employer, that their federal COBRA rights can be extended beyond the federal limits (18, 29, or 36 months) or until eligible for Medicare. This written notice should be given at least 90 days prior to the end of the initial COBRA coverage period (CA Labor Code § 2800.2).

  • Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) Program Notice: Employers that offer health insurance and employ more than 20 employees are required to give terminating workers a special notification about the state-sponsored HIPP program. This notice, entitled "Notice to Terminating Employees," is in addition to the COBRA Notice and applies to both private and public employers (CA Labor Code § 2807).

  • Notice of Discontinuance of Employee Medical Benefits: All employers (private or public) who discontinue medical, surgical or hospital benefits for employees shall notify and advise all covered employees in writing of any discontinuation of coverage, inclusive of non-renewal and cancellation, but not inclusive of employment termination or cases in which substitute coverage has been provided. The written notice must be provided at least 15 days in advance of each action. This section does not apply to welfare benefit plans subject to ERISA (CA Labor Code § 2806).

  • Insurance Privilege Rights: All employers (public and private) shall provide to employees upon termination notification of all continuation, disability extension and conversion options under any employer sponsored coverage that the employee may be eligible for after termination. The written notification must be given to the employee within 15 days from termination of employment or termination from the plan, such as expiration of their COBRA coverage (CA Labor Code § 2800.3).

Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD's)

  • Employer Sponsored Health Coverage - State: All employers (public or private) must provide all eligible employees an outline of coverage or similar explanation of all benefits provided under employer sponsored health coverage. This includes, but is not limited to, provider information from health maintenance organizations (HMO) and preferred provider organizations (PPO). Your ERISA-required "Summary Plan Description" meets this requirement (CA Labor Code § 2808(a)).

  • Employer Sponsored Deferred Compensation Plans: All employers that offer its employees an employer managed deferred compensation plan, shall provide to each employee, prior to enrollment, financial risks of participation and historical information as to the investments under this plan. Thirty days after the end of each quarter participants must receive a written report summarizing the financial performance and an annual balance sheet or annual audit describing the financial condition of the investment plan (CA Labor Code § 2809).

Privacy Requirements

  • Confidentiality of Medical Information Act: Generally, an employer may not use, disclose or knowingly permit its employees or agents to use or disclose medical information that the employer possesses concerning its employees without first obtaining a valid written authorization from the employee.

  • Exceptions to this rule apply for: judicial or administrative processes; legal challenges or claims only if the employee placed their medical history, condition or treatment to issue in the proceeding; and information necessary to administer and maintain employee benefits, and under certain circumstances, to assist a health care provider in treatment of the employee (CA Civil Code § 56.20 & .21).

Anti-Discrimination Requirements

  • Sexual Harassment: Employers with of one or more employees are required to distribute to their employees the Department of Fair Employment and Housing's information sheet on sexual harassment (DFEH 185) or equivalent information in a manner that ensures distribution to each employee (CA Gov. Code § 12950(b)).

Leaves of Absence

  • Pregnancy Disability Leave: Employers with five or more employees are encouraged to give all employees a copy of the notice they are required to post (CA Code of Regs. § 7291.16). The Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides a sample notice, entitled "Notice A: Pregnancy Disability Leave" for employers with 5 to 49 employees and an alternate sample "Notice B: Family Care and Medical Leave (CFRA Leave) and Pregnancy Disability Leave" for employers with 50 or more employees.

  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA): Employers are encouraged to give a copy of the notice to each employee, to ensure that copies are otherwise available to each current and new employee, and to disseminate the notice in any other way (CA Code of Regs. § 7297.9(b)).

Background Checking Requirements

  • Consumer Credit Act: For employment purposes, the employer must provide written notice that a report will be used, identifying the agency supplying the report and a box for the individual to check to receive a free copy (CA Civ. Code, § 1786.16a(2)).

Employee Discipline Due to Investigation

  • Any employer who disciplines or discharges on the basis of a shopping investigator's report performed by a person licensed (CA Business and Prof. Code § 7500) shall provide a copy of the report prior to discharging or disciplining the employee. Where an interview might result in termination due to dishonesty, the employee must be given a copy of the report during the course of the interview. This mandate does not apply to licensees exclusively and regularly employed by the employer (CA Labor Code § 2930).

Polygraph Reports

  • Employers may not require polygraph tests from applicants or employees or even use information obtained through polygraphs (public employers excepted). If a polygraph test is requested, the person must first be advised in writing at the time the test is administered of his/her right to refuse (CA Labor Code § 432.2).

Relocations, Terminations, and Mass Layoffs

Employers with 75 or more employees who lay off or relocate 50 or more employees (at least 100 miles away) must give 60 days advance notice of the layoff or relocation. The notice must contain specific information required by statute and be sent not just to affected employees but also the EDD, the local workforce investment board, and the chief elected official of each affected city and county government (CA Labor Code § 1401).


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