Effective January 1, 2021, California employers will be required under Assembly Bill (AB) 685 to provide detailed notices to employees when there is a COVID-19 case in the workplace and to notify local public health departments of COVID-19 “outbreaks” in the workplace. California employers should begin assessing their practices now to ensure that they will be ready to comply with AB 685 come January 1.
In an effort to close gender and racial pay gaps, California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 973 to require certain California employers to submit an annual pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) starting next year. The new law largely mirrors the EEO-1 “Component 2” pay data reporting requirement, which was imposed by the Obama administration and has been suspended by the Trump administration.
Under SB 973, private employers that have 100 or more employees and are required to file an annual Employer Information Report (EEO-1) must submit a pay data report to the DFEH covering the prior calendar year. The report must include: (1) the number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex in each of ten job categories (the same job categories used in the EEO-1); (2) the number of employees by race, ethnicity, and sex whose annual earnings fall within each of the pay bands used by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics; and (3) the total number of hours worked by each employee counted in each pay band. Employers with multiple establishments in California must submit a report for each establishment and a consolidated report that includes all employees. Employees include all individuals on payroll, whether full- or part-time, for whom the employer must withhold federal social security taxes and include in an EEO-1 Report.
California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed Senate Bill (SB) 1159, which adds COVID-19-related illness or death to the list of injuries covered under the state’s workers’ compensation program and creates new employer reporting responsibilities. The law codifies and extends Executive Order N-62-20, which was issued on May 6, 2020 and created a rebuttable presumption that employees with a COVID-19-related illness on or before July 5, 2020 contracted the virus at work and were eligible for workers’ compensation. The new law is retroactive to July 6, 2020 and expires on January 1, 2023.
Disputable Presumption for COVID-19 Cases During Workplace “Outbreaks”
Workers’ compensation generally provides benefits for employees who are injured or become ill in the course of their employment. Given the wide reach of COVID-19, however, it may be difficult to identify where the employee was exposed to the coronavirus for the purposes of showing that their exposure was caused by and arose out of their employment. In California, however, SB 1159 creates a “disputable presumption” that a COVID-19-related illness arose out of and in the course of employment, and is thus compensable, for employees who test positive during a COVID-19 “outbreak” at the employee’s “specific place of employment,” and whose employer has five or more employees. The new law specifies that workers’ compensation awarded for COVID-19 claims includes “full hospital, surgical, medical treatment, disability indemnity, and death benefits.”
Governor Newsom has signed Senate Bill (SB) 1383 to significantly expand the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA is California’s counterpart to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and provides unpaid family and medical leave of up to 12 weeks for eligible employees. The new law’s key revisions are summarized below and take effect on January 1, 2021.
Continue Reading New Law Expands California Family Rights Act
California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, to create COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (CPSL) requirements for employers with 500 or more employees, filling a gap left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which applies only to employers with under 500 employees. The new law also codifies existing supplemental paid sick leave requirements for certain food-sector workers that were implemented in April under California Executive Order E.O. N-51-20.
AB 1867 took effect on September 19, 2020. It will expire on December 31, 2020, although if Congress extends the emergency sick leave provisions of the FFCRA, the provisions of AB 1867 would automatically be extended for the same period.
California employers are ringing in the new year with a host of new workplace laws. Here is an overview of new employment-related laws, along with recommendations for compliance. All of the laws, unless otherwise specified, went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Continue Reading New California Workplace Laws for 2020
Over three decades ago, in Loral Corp. v. Moyes, a California Court of Appeal held that employee non-solicitation agreements, which bar former employees from soliciting the employer’s existing employees, could be enforceable. In 2008, the California Supreme Court in Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP held that non-competition agreements are unlawful restraints on trade and void under California Business & Professions Code section 16600 (with limited statutory exceptions), but left open whether employee non-solicitation provisions amounted to unlawful restraints on trade. But recently, in a span of just months, two different courts in California have ruled that employee non-solicitation provisions are invalid under section 16600.
Continue Reading Rulings Question the Enforceability of Employee Non-Solicitation Covenants in California
Ten months ago the California Supreme Court rendered its unanimous decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, a case that articulated a new standard for classifying employees and independent contractors. Given the importance of this decision, we provided analysis on this case when it was first decided. However, once issued, this new Dynamex standard did not settle the issue of employee classification in California once and for all. Rather, as we anticipated in our prior post, Dynamex has cast a long shadow, and the issues it raised have continued to gestate, giving rise to renewed focus on employee classification at the state (and federal) level.
Continue Reading Dynamex Alters the Employee Classification Landscape in California
California’s highest court recently pronounced a new worker classification standard in Dynamex v. Lee, a case involving wage and hour requirements under the California Labor Code. Compared with the old rule, the new standard is simpler, arguably more predictable—and will make it more difficult for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors. Dynamex will have immediate consequences for businesses operating in California. Indeed, within days of the ruling, workers sued two prominent “gig economy” companies alleging unlawful worker classifications. For companies in every state, the decision is a reminder that the potential risks of worker misclassification could arise under myriad state and federal laws.
Continue Reading What Companies Should Know in the Wake of California’s New Worker Classification Ruling
Long considered to be at the forefront of providing benefits to employees who take family and medical leave, California recently enacted a new law aimed at increasing the benefits paid out to employees who take time off to care for an ill or injured family member or for new child bonding. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Board…