The California Legislature is well into its 2021 Legislative session and February 19 was the last day to introduce new bills. Below is a sampling of some wage and hour bills that employers should have on their radar.
Assembly Bill 1003 – Wage Theft as Grand Theft
AB 1003 would make an employer’s intentional theft of wages, in an aggregate amount greater than $950 punishable as grand theft. AB 1003 would prevent intentional theft of wages that is punished as grand theft from being punished under any other criminal provisions but would authorize wages, benefits, or other compensation to be recovered in a civil action by the employee or the Labor Commissioner.
Assembly Bill 436 – Inspection and copying of wage records
AB 436 would make the deadline to provide the itemized pay statements the same as personnel records to a current or former employee (e.g. thirty calendar days) if both are requested, providing employers additional time than currently permitted to provide wage records under the Labor Code.
Assembly Bill 1028 – Telework Flexibility Act
AB 1028 would allow more flexibility for workers who are teleworking. If passed, AB 1028 would permit remote employees to work longer work hours and not incur overtime, without going through an alternative workweek election. It would also allow employees working from home to opt-out of California’s meal and rest periods’ strict timing requirements.
Assembly Bill 230 – Flexible Work Schedules
Similar to AB 1028, AB 230 would permit nonexempt employees to request an employee-selected flexible work schedule providing a longer workday without incurring overtime similar to an alternative workweek.
The Legislature has also proposed several bills about independent contractors, seeking to exempt classes of workers from the ABC test, first codified in AB 5 in 2019. It is likely if further exemptions are passed, as in 2020, they will be in the form of a consolidated bill like AB 2257.