5 Things YOU Need to Know Before 2015

1. Get Health Insurance!

Many people remember the rush to get health insurance at the end of 2013 and into 2014 and the problems in using the new website.  Unfortunately, this past year the news did not feel it was necessary to remind people that they still must have health insurance in 2015.  The Open Enrollment Deadline for Covered California ended on December 15, 2014, but that does not mean that there is not still time for a person to get health insurance.  It only means that you will not be able to sign up for health insurance that will be available on January 1, 2015.  Go to www.coveredca.com for more information or to healthcare.gov if you live in another state.

2. Be a Mensch and Don’t Send Private Images!

California has increased the scope of its law banning what is known as “Revenge Porn” to include posts of naked “selfies.”  For those who do not know, “Revenge Porn” is the dissemination of images of a naked person or body parts of a person which were intended to be kept confidential.  Generally, these have been released by a former intimate of the person which is the reason for the derivation of the name.  Noe Iniguez became the first person in the country to be convicted of “Revenge Porn” in December 2014.  In July, the California legislature strengthened the law on the books to ban the dissemination of “selfies” displaying the naked person where the person is identifiable.  This law makes the posting of the images a misdemeanor and exposes those persons who posted the image to civil liability.  This new law becomes effective on January 1, 2015.

3. Licenses for Undocumented Persons!

If you were thinking of going to the DMV in January, I would try to go earlier or wait until February, because a flood of people will be trying to get their licenses in the beginning of 2015 thanks to a new California law making it legal for undocumented persons to get driver’s licenses.  This new law gives to 1.4 million people who do not have a driver’s license but still often drive on the roads a chance to get a license.

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4. Paid Family and Sick Leave!

Starting in January, a person who takes time off to care for a family member who is ill will be able to continue to receive pay for that period that they are taking care of their sick family member.  This law defines a family member to include members of one’s immediate family, as well as parents-in-law, grandparents and siblings.

Starting in July, a person will be able to receive paid sick leave for when they are ill.  The law gives a person one (1) hour of sick leave for every thirty (30) hours that they have worked prior to the requested leave.

5. Protections for Unpaid/Volunteer Interns!

Over the past several decades, the use of unpaid or volunteer interns (people who work full or part-time positions for no compensation) has increased.  Yet these workers have not been provided with protections against discrimination or unlawful work practices.  A new California law gives interns protection from discrimination if they are a member of a suspect class (race, religion and/or disability).