Numerous labor and employment bills are nearing the September 15 deadline for bills to be passed and sent to Governor Brown.
Many labor and employments bills have made it through the maze of the California legislature and their respective Appropriations Committee dockets. We point out below some of the most significant bills now awaiting final votes from the full legislature before heading to Governor Brown's desk.
SB 63 (Jackson) – New Parent Leave
- Provides up to 12 weeks of job-protected maternity and paternity leave for additional small business employees.
- Prohibits an employer, as defined, from refusing to allow an employee with more than 12
months of service with the employer, who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the
employer during the previous 12-month period, and who works at a worksite in which the
employer employs at least 20 employees within 75 miles, to take up to 12 weeks of parental
leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child's birth, adoption, or foster care
- Prohibits an employer from refusing to maintain and pay for coverage under a group health
plan for an employee who takes this leave.
- Provides that this measure would not apply to an employee who is subject to both specified
state law regarding family care and medical leave, and the federal Family and Medical Leave
Act of 1993.
- Authorizes, but does not require, an employer, when two employees of this employer are
entitled to leave pursuant to this bill for the same birth, adoption, or foster care placement, to
grant simultaneous leave to both of these employees.
SB 306 (Hertzberg) – Retaliation
- Revises retaliation claim procedures and authorizes injunctive relief (such as reinstating the employee) in retaliation cases, before the case has been completely investigated or litigated to determine whether a violation has occurred.
- Allows the Labor Commissioner to cite an employer for retaliation independently, without an employee complaint.
SB 396 (Lara) – Harassment Training: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation
- Requires mandated sexual harassment training for employers with 50 or more employees to include training on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.
- Requires employers to post a notice developed by DFEH regarding transgender rights in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.
SB 491 (Bradford) – Discrimination: Local Enforcement
- Requires DFEH to establish an advisory group to study the feasibility of authorizing local government entities to also enforce employment discrimination statutes.
- If the advisory group concludes that enforcement by local authorities is feasible, it is directed to develop an implementation plan and draft proposed legislation for the next legislative session.
AB 46 (Cooper) – Gender Pay Inequality
- Applies the Equal Pay Act within the Labor Code to public sector employers, which are generally governed by the Government Code, and thus, defines “employer” to include both public and private employers.
- Specifies that a misdemeanor for violations of the Equal Pay Act, as specified, does not apply to a public employer.
AB 168 (Eggman) – Salary History Information
- Prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information about an applicant for employment.
- Requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale for a position to an applicant for employment.
AB 568 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – School and Community College: Paid Maternity Leave
- Requires that school districts, charter schools, and community colleges provide at
least six weeks of full pay for pregnancy-related leaves of absence taken by certificated,
academic, and classified employees.
AB 1008 (McCarty) – “Ban the Box”
- Prohibits employers with five (5) or more employees from considering criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.
- If employment is denied, the employer must make an individualized assessment and provide the applicant with a five day opportunity to respond before the employer can make a final decision.
AB 1209 (Gonzalez Fletcher) – Gender Pay Differentials
- Requires employers with 500 or more employees, beginning in July 2020, to biennially report information (by job classification or title) on wage differences between male and female exempt employees and board members.
- This wage information would be reported to the Secretary of State, who would publish the information on a public website.
AB 1565 (Thurmond) – Overtime Salary Threshold
- Provides that an executive, administrative or professional employee is exempt from overtime if they earn a monthly salary equivalent to $3,956 or twice the state minimum wage, whichever is higher.
- This bill puts the Obama Administration DOL overtime regulation into law, raising the wage threshold an employee must reach in order to be exempt from overtime
California Employment Law
Should any of these bills pass both legislative houses, Governor Brown will have until October 15 to sign or veto the legislation. Leading California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley will continue to monitor these bills until the legislature adjourns or Governor Brown takes action. In the meantime, if you have any questions about California's wage and hour laws, contact Kingsley & Kingsley to speak with one of our experienced labor lawyers.