New Bills Proposed

Everyone is focused on the effects of COVID-19 and we thought it was time to give you something else to think about. Life, and California legislators, keep finding ways to challenge business owners. Proposed bills affecting employers this legislative session include:

  • AB3216 – Currently companies with 50+ employees are subject to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which is very much like the federal FMLA with a few exceptions. It provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off with job protection. This bill proposes two things: (1) to change CFRA so companies with 1+ employees are subject to this Act and (2) allow the 12 weeks to be used for diagnosed COVID-19 quarantine for the employee or close family. Bringing CFRA down to such small companies could be devastating unless it’s only for COVID-19 related situations…but it’s not clear.
  • AB2999 – This bill wants employers to provide 10 days of unpaid bereavement leave for employees who have worked at least 60 days prior to the leave. The employee could only use this leave for specific family members and would need to provide written proof of the death. Whether a company provides 1 day or 10, it usually never seems to be sufficient for the affected employee but we prefer the company be allowed to choose.
  • AB1844 – Since 2014, the Healthy Workplace Healthy Family Act has required paid sick leave for the diagnosis, care, or treatment of various conditions for the employee and their family. This bill would allow mental health days…health or behavioral health conditions would be covered. Given a company’s inability to require medical documentation, we expect to see even more abuse of sick time if this bill is passed.
  • AB1928 – This bill is trying to repeal AB5 regarding independent contractors. Instead, we would go back to using the original Borello test to determine who is an employee versus an independent contractor. Ironically, AB5 merely tried to add some clarification to the CA Supreme Court’s ruling on the ABC test, so we’re not sure this will achieve what they want.
  • AB1947 – They are proposing more time for employees who want to file a retaliation complaint with the Labor Commissioner. Currently, employees have 6 months but this bill would provide 12 months.
  • AB1963 – Currently, certain people (teachers, law enforcement, daycare employees, etc.) are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect. This bill wants to add more people as mandated reporters: HR personnel in companies hiring minors and anyone supervising or having direct contact with minors at work.
  • AB2143 – On 1/1/2020, a new law prohibited settlement agreements from stating the company would not rehire the employee unless they determined the employee engaged in sexual harassment or sexual assault. This bill wants to add criminal conduct as another reason to use the no rehire clause.
  • AB3313 – Currently, licensees and employees of care facilities must have training about laws governing the facilities. This bill proposes to add required training on various employment laws.
  • SB1129 – This bill will provide companies more time to fix their wage statements (pay stubs) prior to an employee filing suit. Currently, the company has 65 days and must fix the wage statements for the past 3 years. This bill proposes a company has to fix incorrect wage statements only for the past year and the clock wouldn’t start until the postmark date of the certified letter notifying the company of the problem.

We’ll keep you updated as we hear whether these bills are moving forward or being blocked. However, no matter what else is happening, we all need to remember that employment laws are still in place and you are still expected to be in compliance. It’s easy to forget or ignore those laws when you’re in survival mode.

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