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California Chamber of Commerce Announces “Job Killer” Bills of 2015

Published by on June 18, 2015

The California Chamber of Commerce has released its 2015 preliminary list of “job killer” bills. The list focuses on proposed measures currently pending before the California legislature that, if passed into law, the Chamber believes would have a negative impact on California’s job climate and economic recovery. Although the Chamber states that it will be […]

The California Chamber of Commerce has released its 2015 preliminary list of “job killer” bills. The list focuses on proposed measures currently pending before the California legislature that, if passed into law, the Chamber believes would have a negative impact on California’s job climate and economic recovery.

Although the Chamber states that it will be opposing a number of bills, “the ‘job killer’ list represents the worst of the worst” and “[t]hese proposals will unnecessarily increase costs on California employers that will likely lead to a loss of jobs.”

The labor and employment bills that made the “job killer” list are:

AB 357 – Fair Scheduling Act of 2015

This bill would require food and general retail establishments (as defined by the bill) to provide their employees with advance two-week notice of their work schedules. This bill would also require food and general retail establishments to provide additional pay for each scheduled shift that is moved, cancelled, or added to an employee’s schedule. Food and general retail establishments would further be required to pay employees a specific amount for each on-call shift for which the employee is required to be available but is not called into work.

Finally, the bill would allow an employee of a food and general retail establishment to take an unpaid absence for up to eight hours twice a year to attend any required appointment at a county human services agency and would prohibit any adverse employment action against an employee who attends an unscheduled appointment at a county human services agency.

SB 3 – Automatic Minimum Wage Increases

This bill would increase the minimum wage to $11 per hour on January 1, 2016, and to $13 per hour on January 1, 2017. The bill also would require the minimum wage be increased on January 1, 2019, to an hourly rate calculated based on the California Consumer Price Index (CPI). The Industrial Welfare Commission would be prohibited from reducing minimum wage if the average rate of inflation was negative.

SB 406 – Expansion of the California Family Rights Act

The existing California Family Rights Act requires covered employers to provide certain employees with up to 12 workweeks of job-protected leave for qualifying events. This bill would increase the number of employers covered by existing law, by changing the size of covered employers from a minimum of 50 employees down to a minimum of 25 employees.

The bill would also expand the definition of leave with regard to caring for persons with a serious health condition, to also include leave to care for grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, or domestic partners who have a serious health condition. The bill would additionally expand the definition of the terms “child” and “parent.”

SB 563 – Workers’ Compensation

This bill would require that the method of compensation, and any incentive payments contingent upon the approval, modification, or denial of a claim, for anyone providing services pursuant to a utilization review process be filed with the administrative director and disclosed by the employer to employees, physicians, and the public, upon request. The bill would exempt certain requests by a physician for medical treatment for a worker injured from an industrial injury if the request meets specific conditions.

AB 465 – Employment Arbitration Agreements Prohibited

This bill would prohibit, as unconscionable and in violation of a public policy, any employer from requiring an employee, as a condition of employment, to enter into an arbitration agreement regarding any employment law violation. Employers would be prohibited from taking any adverse employment action against an applicant or employee for refusal to enter into such arbitration agreement. The bill would apply to any arbitration agreement entered into on or after January 1, 2016, and would impose a $10,000 penalty for each violation of the bill’s provisions.

The California Chamber of Commerce states that it expects to add more bills to the “job killer” list as legislation is amended. You can track the status of these “job killer” bills at www.cajobkillers.com or by following @CAJobKillers on Twitter.

Laconic Lookout:

Complying with the law is difficult for California employers and it isn’t going to be made any easier if any (or all) of these bills become law. Employers should have their policies and procedures reviewed regularly by a labor and employment attorney so that they can ensure compliance with new and changing laws, and be aware in particular of new legislation that either changes the range of employers covered by a provision, or formally prohibits something that was previously standard practice.

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