New California workplace laws impact both workers and employers
Garment Worker Protection Act, SB 62 abolished piece-rate payment and required hourly wages for workers. | Image courtesy of the California Governor’s Office”/>
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 62 in a virtual ceremony. Also known as the Garment Worker Protection Act, SB 62 abolished piece-rate payment and required hourly wages for workers. | Image courtesy of the California Governor’s Office
Governor Gavin Newsom signed hundreds of new bills into law in 2021, with a number of labor and labor laws that began Jan. 1 making changes to employment practices and workplace safety. The garment industry in the state is expected to see major changes as laws protecting garment workers take effect and change how they are paid for their work.
Senate Bill 62, known as the Garment Worker Protection Act, took effect Jan. 1 and abolished piece-rate payment in the state. The law made California the first state to mandate hourly wages for garment workers and makes brands and retailers liable for wage theft and illegal compensation practices. Governor Newsom signed the bill into law in September 2021. Another garment worker protection law was introduced in September 2020 but did not reach the voting stage until the end of the legislative session.
The law has a significant impact on the garment industry and has been a divisive issue. California has the highest concentration of garment industry workers in the United States, with Los Angeles employing more than 40,000 people in about 2,000 factories. Surveys from previous years have shown poor working conditions in addition to workers being underpaid.
The California Chamber of Commerce called the bill a “job killer” and called on Governor Newsom to veto it. The Chamber of Commerce said the bill would do nothing against “bad actors” who break existing law and encourage retailers to leave the state and conduct their business elsewhere. the American Apparel and Footwear Association said the bill would impose liability on companies without any checks on garment workers.
The fight to pass the bill was led by the Los Angeles Garment Workers Center and has been endorsed by over 140 trade industry members including fashion brands Reformation, Doen, Mara Hoffman, Eileen Fisher, For days and another tomorrow.
Consistent with SB 62’s attempts to combat wage theft, Assembly Bill 1003 makes intentional theft of wages, including gratuities, in excess of $950 to an employee or 2,350 $ in total to two or more employees by an employer in any country. consecutive 12-month period punishable by robbery under state law. The new law defines wage theft as “the intentional deprivation of wages as defined in article 200 of the Labor Code. Under this provision, independent contractors are included in the definition of an employee. The bill passed the California Assembly in May 2021 by a vote of 78–0 and passed the Senate Public Safety Committee unopposed in June before being signed into law by Governor Newsom in September.
California also passed Assembly Bill 701, which aims to regulate and control the use of quotas in warehouses, which would help reduce workplace injuries and ensure that employees cannot be fired or face reprisals for failing to meet dangerous quotas. It is the first law in the nation that requires companies to disclose productivity requirements and work speed metrics set for employees. Employers must provide each employee upon hire or within 30 days with a written description of each quota that applies to the employee as well as any adverse action that may be taken if the quota is not met. The new law also prohibits employers from requiring quotas that prevent employees from taking compliant meal and rest breaks.
AB 701 also allows the labor commissioner to issue citations and enforce the bill. The Occupational Safety and Health Division or Workers’ Compensation Division must notify the Commissioner if a workplace or employer has an annual injury rate of at least 1.5 times the average ‘industry.
The new law applies to employers with 100 or more employees at a single warehouse fulfillment center or 1,000 or more employees at one or more warehouse fulfillment centers in the state. The bill was intended to target Amazon, but all warehouse fulfillment centers in the state are subject to the new regulations. The bill was drafted by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D – San Diego), a former union official who also introduced Assembly Bill 5, which extended employee classification to certain workers the concert. The bill was signed into law by Governor Newsom in September 2021.
Senate Bill 606, which was also signed into law by Governor Newsom in September, seeks to strengthen California’s occupational safety and health law enforcement powers by creating two new categories of Cal/OSHA violations. : enterprise-wide violations and flagrant violations. SB 606 creates a rebuttable presumption that an employer with multiple work sites will have committed a “company-wide” violation if Cal/OSHA discovers that the employer has a non-compliant written policy or procedure or if Cal /OSHA has evidence of a pattern or practice of safety violations at multiple job sites.
SB 606 also allows Cal/OSHA to issue citations for “gross violations” of an occupational safety or health standard, order, special order, or regulation. The new law allows Cal/OSHA to consider each instance of an employee exposed to this violation as a separate violation for issuing fines and penalties. SB 606 also provides Cal/OSHA with increased subpoena power.
The bill was drafted by Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D – Long Beach) and is expected to have a big impact on the construction and manufacturing industries as well as big-box retailers. Unions supported the bill, while the California Chamber of Commerce opposed it because it gives Cal/OSHA more enforcement power.
The minimum wage increased again at the beginning of the year in accordance with Senate Bill 3. The minimum wage was raised across all industries to $15 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees and $14 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees. The 2016 law, which was signed by then-Governor Jerry Brown, called for phased increases in the minimum wage at the start of each year until 2023, when the minimum wage in all industries, regardless of regardless of the number of employees, will be $15 per year. time.
Assembly Bill 1561 and Assembly Bill 1506 create more exemptions than Assembly Bill 5, also known as the “Labourers Bill”. task,” which went into effect January 1, 2020. AB 1561 exempts adjusters, third-party insurance administrators, contractors, and manicurists in the construction industry from the ABC test to determine if a worker is a independent contractor. AB 1506 exempts newspaper carriers from the ABC test. These exemptions are due to expire on January 1, 2025.