California DIR Releases Overview of Upcoming New Laws

The California Department of Industrial Relations has released its 2016 Legislative Digest, which summarizes new laws that impact workers and employers.

Most of the chaptered bills are slated to take effect on Jan. 1, 2017. Highlights those new laws include:

Wage and Hour Laws

Senate Bill 3 increases the state minimum wage annually starting on Jan. 1, 2017 until it reaches $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply with these requirements. It also provides that, starting July 1, 2018, In-Home Supportive Services workers are entitled to paid sick days.

Assembly Bill 1066 ensures California farmworkers earn overtime pay after eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. It creates a schedule to phase in these overtime requirements over a four-year period: from 2019 to 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees and from 2022 to 2025 for employers of 25 or fewer employees.

workers_compSenate Bill 1015 indefinitely extends the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights specifying that domestic workers earn overtime pay when they work more than nine hours in one workday day or more than 45 hours in any workweek.

Access to Medical Care and Fraud Prevention

Assembly Bill 1244 and Senate Bill 1160 build upon California’s workers’ compensation reforms by addressing two issues: reducing treatment delays for injured workers and rooting out provider fraud and illegitimate liens. AB 1244 requires the Division of Workers’ Compensation to suspend any medical provider, physician or practitioner convicted of fraud from participating in the workers’ compensation system. SB 1160 expedites treatment to injured workers in the acute stage of a claim. It also mandates electronic reporting of utilization review data by claims administrators and implements measures intended to increase transparency and combat fraud in the system.

Worker Health and Safety

AB 1978 protects janitorial workers by requiring registration of employers, starting July 1, 2018, and mandating the Labor Commissioner to establish a biennial in-person sexual violence and harassment prevention training requirement.

Senate Bill 1167 mandates Cal/OSHA propose a new standard that minimizes heat-related illness and injury among workers working in indoor places by Jan. 1, 2019.

Budget Implementation

Senate Bill 836 does the following: reforms the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act to allow greater state government and court oversight of PAGA claims and litigation; clarifies public works requirements for ready-mix cement delivery; aligns statutes that authorize the Divisions of Labor Standards Enforcement and Occupational Safety and Health to charge fees for various regulatory activities to make the programs self-sustaining through user fees and reduce the number of funds into which those fees are deposited; eliminates a duplicate inspection requirement in the Permanent Amusement Ride Safety Inspection Program; and authorizes sharing confidential information among state education and job training agencies for evaluating and reporting on program performance and outcomes for program participants.