California Legislative Update: Bills on Governor’s Desk for Signature or Veto
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
Throughout the year, we’ve reported on various employment-related bills being considered by the California legislature. The 2016 legislative session came to a close yesterday, so we are now reporting on the final status of bills that were passed by both houses and have now been sent to the Governor for either approval or veto. The Governor has until September 30, 2016 to approve or veto these bills.
SB 654 (Parental Leave): This bill, which is an amended version of a prior bill, would require an employer having 20 or more employees within 75 miles of a requesting employee’s worksite to provide the employee up to 6 weeks of leave to bond with a new child, if the employee has at least 12 months of service and has worked at least 1250 hours in the 12 months preceding the request for leave. The employe would be entitled to use accrued paid time off during the leave and the employer would be required to continue group health benefits during the leave. The employee would be entitled to an upfront guarantee of reinstatement to the same or comparable position. The provisions of the bill would take effect January 1, 2018.
AB 1066 (Overtime Pay and Meal and Rest Periods for Agricultural Workers): This bill would eliminate the present exemption from meal and rest break and day of rest requirements for agricultural workers, and would also phase in overtime compensation requirements for these workers over the next several years. For employers with more than 25 employees, agricultural workers would have to be paid time and one-half for hours worked in excess of 9.5 hours per day and/or 55 hours per week, starting January 1, 2019. Starting January 1, 2020, the time and one-half obligation would kick in for all hours worked in excess of 9 hours per day or 50 hours per week. Starting January 1, 2021, the time and one-half obligation would kick in for all hours worked in excess of 8.5 hours per day or 45 hours per week, and starting January 1, 2022, time and one-half would be owed for all hours worked in excess of 8 per day or 40 per week. For employers with 25 or fewer employees, the overtime phase-in schedule does not start until January 1, 2022.
AB 1676 (Equal Pay Act Amendment): This bill would amend California’s Equal Pay Act, which makes it unlawful to pay employees of one gender less than similarly situated employees of the opposite gender, to expressly provide that prior salary alone is not alone a sufficient justification for a pay disparity.
SB 1001 (Remedy for Unlawful Verification of Right to Work): This bill would add section 1019.1 to the Labor Code and make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer, in the course of verifying an applicant’s authorization to work, to (1) request more or different documents than are required under federal law; (2) refuse to honor documents tendered that on their face appear to be reasonably genuine; (3) refuse to honor documents or work authorization based upon the specific status or term of status that accompanies the authorization to work; or (4) attempt to reinvestigate or reverify an incumbent employee’s authorization to work using an unfair immigration-related practice. An applicant or employee subject to a violation of this law would be entitled to file a complaint with the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and recover a penalty of $10,000 per violation.
AB 2337 (Notice to Employees of Rights Concerning Domestic Violence/Stalking): Existing California law provides employees who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking the right to take time off from work in specified circumstances. This bill would require employers to give new employees written notice of these rights upon hire and to provide notice to current employees upon request. The bill would also require the Labor Commissioner, by July 1, 2017, to prepare a form notice for employers to use to satisfy the requirements of this new law. Employers would not be required to comply with the notice requirements until the Labor Commissioner’s notice form is posted on its website.
SB 1063 (Equal Pay – Race and Ethnicity): This bill would expand California’s equal pay law, which currently prohibits wage differentials based on gender, to prohibit employers from paying employees of one race or ethnicity less than similarly situated employees of a different race or ethnicity.
SB 1167 (Heat Illness Prevention for Indoor Workers): This bill would require Cal-OSHA, by January 1, 2019, to propose standards for heat illness prevention for indoor workers, similar to those currently in place for outdoor workers.
Employers may wish to send letters of support or opposition to these bills to the Governor’s office. For more information on these bills, or to review the text of the bills, click here.