Job Killers

As if you aren’t dealing with enough while trying to get your business back to some version of normal, it feels like the California legislature has been working against us lately. The CA Chamber of Commerce has provided its annual list of “job killer” bills. A bill gets this designation when the Chamber feels it threatens the state’s economic recovery and may hurt your ability to rehire or maintain employment of workers. The bills below have not yet been passed so there’s still hope.

Please make use of your personal protective equipment (i.e., your chair) before reading:

AB196, AB664, and SB893 Presumption of injury — AB196 will increase workers’ compensation costs by presuming it’s a workplace injury if your “essential worker” contracts COVID-19. AB663 adds to that by requiring public employers and public/private hospitals to provide additional compensation for things like temporary housing costs based on the employee being exposed or contracting a communicable disease, including COVID-19. SB893 focuses on public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases are caused by the workplace. This will also establish a precedent for expanding this presumption into the private sector.

AB1107 Massive unemployment and tax increases — This will raise employers’ payroll taxes to fund a 130% increase in unemployment payments.

AB2999 New protected leave — This will require all employers of any size to provide up to 10 days of unpaid bereavement leave, regardless of how long the employee has worked for you. The bill also includes additional litigation possibilities.

AB3075 Public shaming — Corporations can be publicly shamed by local jurisdictions based on arbitrary, unclear, and unfair standards. This means your city or county can impose their own wage payment requirements that are more stringent than state requirements… and let it be known publicly if you aren’t following them.

AB3216 COVID-19 leave mandate — In addition to current federal, state, and local laws, this bill provides unlimited job-protected family and medical leave for all employees in any size company for anything related to COVID-19.

SB1399 Increases costs and liabilities on the apparel industry — This bill requires the industry to have a $600,000 bond to operate and the Chamber believes this financial burden will force the closure of many of the shops.

As you can see, COVID-19 continues to be the impetus for changes that may cost us more. The only good news is that last year there were 31 job killer bills and only two made it to the Governor and only one was signed into law. However, a year ago we didn’t have COVID-19 playing havoc with our businesses so even one of these bills getting passed will be bad news.

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