Employment-Related Bills Pending Before The California Legislature
Topics: New Laws & Legislation
There are a number of employment-related bills pending before the California legislature this session. While it is too early to tell which of these bills ultimately will be passed and signed into law, California employers may wish to follow the progress of some of these bills and/or to submit comments, opposition, or support (for the most part, unlikely) for a particular bill. The most noteworthy are the following bills:
AB 465 (arbitration agreements): This bill would require that any agreement to waive any forum for resolving certain employment disputes (alleging violations of the Labor Code) must be knowing, voluntary, and in writing. The bill would prohibit employers from requiring employees to agree to arbitrate as a condition of employment.
AB 676 (job applications/current employment): This bill would prohibit employers from requiring that an applicant be currently employed in order to apply for a job opening and would prohibit an employer from inquiring about current employment until after the employer determines that the applicant meets the minimum qualifications for the job.
AB 987 (FEHA): This bill would amend California’s employment discrimination statute, FEHA, to expressly prohibit discrimination or retaliation against an employee for requesting accommodation for a disability or religious practice.
AB 1017 (salary information): This bill would prohibit employers from advertising for open jobs without including the minimum pay, and would prohibit employers from paying less than the pay that was advertised. The bill would also prohibit employers from inquiring into the salary history of an applicant as a condition of employment, and would prohibit employers from disclosing salary information of employees or former employees without their written consent.
AB 1383 (preference for veterans in employment): This bill would allow employers to establish a policy for giving veterans a preference for hiring or retaining over other qualified applicants or employees, without running afoul of discrimination provisions of FEHA.
AB 11 (paid sick leave): This bill would amend the recently enacted statewide paid sick leave law to extend its provisions to providers of in-home supportive care services.
AB 304 (paid sick leave): This bill is intended to clean up some aspects of the recently enacted statewide paid sick leave law. However, it is not clear what aspects it will ultimately aim to clean up, as the language of the bill has been changed several times already. Some of the issues being looked at include the manner of calculating sick leave pay where an employee has variable compensation, and whether the eligibility requirement of working in California at least 30 days in a year means working for the same employer for those 30 days.
AB 622 (use of E-Verify): This bill would generally prohibit employers from using E-Verify to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or of an applicant for employment prior to being given an offer of employment.
AB 1065 (I-9 practices): This bill would prohibit employers from requiring more or different documents than are required under federal law to verify that an individual is not an unauthorized alien, or from refusing to accept or honor documents that reasonably appear on their face to be genuine. It would also prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants based on the status or term of status that accompanies their authorization to work.
AB 67 (Double time for working on certain holidays): This bill would require employers to pay double time to employees who work on Christmas or Thanksgiving.
AB 357 (employees of food and retail establishments): This bill would require employees of certain food and retail establishments to be given at least two weeks’ notice of their work schedules, and would require employers to provide additional compensation to employees in certain circumstances for changes to their work schedules, as well as additional pay for being on-call but not being required to come in.
AB 588 (right to cure for wage statement violations): This bill would require employees to provide an employer with time to cure certain wage statement errors prior to being able to bring a PAGA action for penalties for such wage statement errors.
AB 1038/SB 368 (individual alternative workweek schedule): This bill would allow an individual non-exempt employee and an employer to agree that the employee may work an alternative work schedule of up to 10 hours per day, without the need for payment of daily overtime.
AB 1470 (overtime exemption for highly compensated employees): This bill would provide an overtime exemption for employees who earn at least $100,000 per year, who regularly perform any of the duties of an exempt executive, administrative, or professional employee, and whose primary duty is office or non-manual work.
AB 908 (expansion of paid family leave benefits): This bill would expand the state’s paid family leave program (administered by the EDD) to provide partial wage replacement benefits for family leave purposes for 10 weeks instead of the current maximum of 6 weeks’ benefits.
SB 358 (employee right to discuss wages): This bill would expand protection of the employees’ rights to discuss their wages with other employees, and expands the prohibition on paying employees of one sex less than employees of the opposite sex by placing the burden on an employer to affirmatively justify any pay differentials based on bona fide factors other than sex.
SB 3 (further minimum wage hikes): This bill would further increase California’s minimum wage to $11/hour effective January 1, 2016, and to $13/hour effective January 1, 2017.
SB 406 (expansion of CFRA): This bill would expand coverage of California’s family and medical leave law (CFRA) to employers with 5 or more employees (currently it only applies to employers with 50 or more employees, like the FMLA). It would also expand the circumstances in which an employee may take leave to care for a family member by expanding the definitions of eligible family members for whom leave may be taken. The bill would also expand leave eligibility by providing that employees are eligible for leave if the employer has at least 25 employees within 75 miles of the employee’s worksite (the current requirement is 50 employees within 75 miles).
SB 579 (use of sick leave for child care or school emergency): This bill would require that employers who provide sick leave permit employees to use that sick leave for a child care or school emergency.
We will keep you posted of important developments as these bills make their way through the California legislative process. To track these bills, click here.