New Employment Laws Advancing in California

A set of newly proposed employment laws have been advancing through the legislative process in California, and could be approved or vetoed by the governor soon. While this series of pending bills will not constitute major changes to employment law and labor tracking in the state, many specific policies and benefit allowances may need to be adjusted.

As noted by the corporate and consumer site JD Supra in their article covering this swath of developing business and employment laws, if these bills pass both houses of California’s legislative body, they will be approved or vetoed by the governor before the end of September.

Potential Changes to Benefits, Leave, and Labor Laws

Each of these new bills proposed by the California Senate and Assembly may affect employment standards and regulations moving forward if they are ultimately approved:

State of Emergency Lay-Offs and Rehiring

Assembly Bill 3216 would implement a new system to offer rehiring preferentially to employees laid off by employers in certain sectors (building services providers to office, retail and commercial complexes, tourism and hotel staff, event centers, airfare, and some hospitality businesses) during states of emergency. This bill would also require businesses that have laid-off employees in this way to provide information to those laid-off employees about positions they may be qualified for.

Employer Mandate to Report Pay Equity Data

Senate Bill 973 would impose a new mandate on businesses in California with more than 100 employees. Payroll data would need to be exported and provided to California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The provision would break down pay data into ten distinct employment categories, and require an accounting of all employees by race, ethnicity, and sex. This data would be utilized by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to monitor and address potential discrimination in pay based on race, ethnicity, and sex in accordance with civil rights laws.

Bereavement Leave Expansion

Assembly Bill 2999 would expand bereavement benefits to almost all employees, up to ten days of unpaid time off (with the option to use accrued vacation time or paid time off for bereavement). All employees of businesses in the state of California would receive this benefit in full, with the exception of employees of businesses with 25 or less employees, which may receive up to three days of unpaid time off instead. Employers are allowed to request documentation of the death of a family member (including a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, but not distant relatives such as an uncle or cousin) in order to approve an employee’s bereavement leave. This bill also does not apply to employees that are members of a collective bargaining agreement if certain criteria are met, and provides a formal complaint filing option for employees who are disciplined or discharged for taking bereavement leave.

Expansion of the California Family Rights Act

Senate Bill 1383 would expand leave benefits to more employees than the original California Family Rights Act did. This expands the definition of an employees child to include the child of a domestic partner, and also provides the opportunity to take leave for immediate care of domestic partners, parents, grandparents, parents-in-law, and siblings. Benefits from this bill may also be extended to more employees, including businesses with as few as five members, which will certainly affect a far greater number of businesses in the state. This California Family Rights Act expansion also makes a few nuanced changed to leave related to military service for active duty employees, and their immediate relatives related to their military service.

Is Your Business Ready for These Changes?

These changes- which may be approved and come into affect before the end of the year- would have an impact on most Californian businesses. To learn more about these legislative advances and others, as well as other need-to-know business and consumer insights, see the JD Supra article here.

With so many changes to employee benefits, leave policies, and workers rights, it can be difficult for a business to keep up manually adjusting to each change in the law. Benefit tracking, rules, regulations, and labor laws are best managed by professionally automated systems. These systems, when updated and maintained to keep track of changes to labor laws, ensure your business remains compliant to statewide standards and prevent costly litigation.