Employees In California? If So, These Are The Employment Bills To Watch

Jackson Lewis P.C.

With the flurry of action by California lawmakers in the final weeks of the legislative session, there are approximately 640 bills waiting for action by California Governor, Jerry Brown.  Here is a list of legislation which California employers should be watching.

  • SB 63 – This bill would expand CA’s family leave law to employers with 20 or more employees (as opposed to CFRA, which applies to CA employers with 50 or more employees). Eligible employees could take up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid parental leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • AB 168 – This topic is likely a familiar one for employers, as it has been the subject of previous legislative efforts in California.  In addition, several states and cities (including San Francisco) are adopting their own local ordinances on this subject. This bill would prohibit California employers from asking about job candidates for their salary history.  Upon request, an employer would also be required to provide an applicant with the pay scale of the desired position. 
  • SB 306 – This bill dramatically revises retaliation claim procedures under California law. It 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.  The bill also allows the Labor Commissioner to cite an employer for retaliation independently, without an employee complaint.
  • AB 568 – This bill would require school districts, charter schools, and community colleges to provide at least six weeks of full paid leave for pregnancy, miscarriage, childbirth and recovery.
  • AB 569 – This bill seeks to protect women from being fired or disciplined over decisions related to their reproductive health, including but not limited to, the use of any drug, device, or medical service. Because this bill adds a new section to the Labor Code, any violation would be subject to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).
  • AB 1008 – Known as “Ban the Box”, this bill would prohibit public and private (more than 5 employees) employers from acting about past convictions on any application for employment. The employer could ask about conviction history after giving a conditional offer of employment.
  • AB 1565This bill 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 figure roughly represents the amount proposed by the Obama Administration – which amounts to an annual salary of $47,472. California’s exemption will reach this salary level on its own in 2019 (or 2020 for smaller employers) as the California minimum wage increases, but this bill will speed up the process.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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