The California legislature is in session, and a large slate of employment-related bills has been introduced, touching on everything from fair pay, family leave, workplace safety, wage and hour, predictive scheduling, and more. While a lot could change as these bills make their way through the legislative process, here’s a look at some of the more notable measures under consideration, organized by bill number.
- AB 5, the Opportunity to Work Act, would require employers with 10 or more employees to offer additional hours of work to existing non-exempt employees before hiring additional employees or subcontractors (such as through employment or staffing agencies). An employer would not be required to offer additional hours to an employee if that would result in overtime.
- AB 46 would amend the California Fair Pay Act to specify that “employer” means private and public employers, except that public employers would not be subject to misdemeanor provisions for violations.
- AB 168 would amend the California Fair Pay Act to prohibit employers from seeking salary history information from applicants, and to require private employers to provide pay scale information to job applicants upon request.
- AB 281, along with AB 1429 and AB 1430, would amend the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), as follows: allow civil penalty awards only for violations that actually injured the employee; exclude only health and safety violations from PAGA’s right-to-cure provisions, and extend the cure period from 33 to 65 calendar days; limit the violations for which civil actions could be brought to wage statement, overtime, and meal/rest period violations; cap civil penalties at $10,000 per claimant; and require that before an employee could file a PAGA action, the LWDA investigate and issue a citation or determine if there is a reasonable basis for a civil action.
- AB 353, the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act, would allow private employers to establish written veterans’ preference policies to give hiring and retention preference to veterans over other qualified applicants or employees.
- AB 442 would prohibit Cal-OSHA from commencing enforcement actions for non-serious violations against employers that are small or micro-businesses (as defined in the Government Code) without first providing the employer with written notice and 30 days to cure the violation.
- AB 568 would require that school districts provide at least six weeks of full pay during a pregnancy disability leave of absence.
- AB 569 would amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to bar employers from taking adverse employment action based on the use of any drug, device or medical service related to reproductive health by an employee or dependent, and from requiring an employee to sign a waiver denying the employee the right to make personal reproductive health care decisions, including the use of a particular drug, device or medical services. Employers would need to include notice of these rights in the organization’s employee handbook.
- AB 978 would impose new disclosure requirements for employer’s illness and injury prevention programs (IIPP), including that employers provide a free copy within five days on request by current employee or their authorized representative.
- AB 1008 would enact a state-wide “Ban the Box” law, barring employers from asking about criminal history on job applications or at any time before an applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. Before using criminal history to deny employment, the employer would be required to perform an individual assessment to determine whether the conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship to the position. The employer also would be required to: notify the applicant before denying employment and allow the applicant 10 days to respond; consider that response before reaching a final determination to deny employment; and notify the applicant in writing of a final decision to deny employment and the reasons for the denial.
- AB 1099 would require employers that permit payment for services by debit or credit card to also accept those same payment methods for gratuities (tips). The bill also provides that credit card tips would have to be paid to the employee no later than the next regular payday following the customer’s authorization of credit card payment.
- AB 1173 would permit “holiday season employee-selected flexible work schedules,” allowing individual employees to request to work up to 10 hours in a day without payment of overtime (although overtime would still be due after 10 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week). Requests would need to be in writing, and approved by the employer, and flex schedules could be discontinued by either party upon written notice. Employers could notify employees of the option to request a flex work schedule but could not induce requests by promising employment benefits or threatening a detriment.
- AB 1174 would implement “right to work” protections prohibiting employers from requiring employees, as a condition of obtaining or maintaining employment, to contribute financial support to a labor organization or charities and other organizations sponsored by a labor organization.
- AB 1565 would raise the minimum salary required for overtime exemption to $3,956 (or $47,472 annually) or twice the state minimum wage, whichever is higher. Currently, the minimum salary for exemption is set at two times the state minimum wage, which comes to $43,600 for employers with 26 or more employees, and $41,600 for employers with under 26 employees.
- SB 63 would provide job-protected leave for baby bonding under the CFRA to eligible employees in businesses with 20-49 employees. Currently, the CFRA only covers employers with 50 or more employees.
- SB 482 would allow domestic live-in workers who are required to be on duty for 24 or more consecutive hours and their employers to agree, in writing, to exclude regular sleep periods from hours worked.
- SB 524 would establish a good-faith defense for employers in cases where they have relied upon published opinion letters or enforcement policies of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
Miller Law Group will continue to monitor these bills and related developments over the next few months. Lawmakers have until September 15, 2017, to pass bills, and the Governor has until October 15, 2017, to sign or veto bills on his desk. We’ll keep you posted.
Miller Law Group exclusively represents business in all aspects of California employment law, specializing in litigation, wage and hour class actions, trials, appeals, compliance advice and counseling. If you have questions about these developments or other workplace obligations, please contact us at (415) 464-4300.
This Alert is published by Miller Law Group to review recent developments in employment law. This material is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the Alert, and should not be considered legal advice.