New Bills Emerge Impacting How We Do Business

Our bill introduction deadline has come and gone and 2022 has 2,130 legislative bills pending in the State Assembly and State Senate. Of those, 128 are currently being tracked for CLCA.

While it is tempting to think the bill introduction deadline means no more new bills, CLCA stays ever vigilant due to the Legislature’s use of “spot bills.” Spot bills are legislative bills that are introduced but still need the detail language inserted. Essentially, they are introduced to meet the deadline and are holding a spot for the real legislative language to be added at a later date. CLCA continues to monitor these spot bills to see if they materialize into legislation we need to take advocacy action on.

In the time since my last update to you, the Governor and Legislature reached agreement on a package of bills including supplemental paid COVID sick leave of up to 80 hours per employee. CLCA just held a webinar on these COVID changes, including sick leave. If you missed it, it is in the members section of the CLCA website and you can view it on demand.

In reviewing the scores of new legislation, here are a few bills of interest:

SB 1162 (Limon-D): Employment: salaries and wages

Places new and burdensome reporting requirements on all employers of 100 or more employees or sub-contractors by requiring detailed information on pay rates, demographics, and related characteristics.

It requires the pay data report to include the median and mean hourly rate for each combination of race, ethnicity, and sex within each job category. It requires employers with multiple establishments to submit a report covering each establishment and establishes civil penalties of up to $200 per employee for failure to comply. It requires the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to publish each private employers pay data report on an internet website available to the public.

AB 2182 (Wicks-D): Discrimination: family responsibilities

This bill would further expand the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and is practically identical to AB 1119 which CLCA has already opposed. It would expand the FEHA to protect characteristics that include “family responsibilities,” defined to mean the obligations of an employee to provide direct and ongoing care for a minor child, other family member or anyone else the employee has a close caring relationship. This greatly expands the FEHA and would create a bonanza in discrimination litigation opportunities.

AB 1872 (Low-D): Election day holiday

This bill adds the day on which a statewide general election is held, which is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of any even-numbered year, to these lists of state holidays. It requires public schools, community colleges, CSU and U.C. to close campuses on a day on which a statewide general election is held. It requires state employees be given time off with pay among other provisions.

AB 1874 (Smith-R): Contractors: unlicensed work

This bill would authorize a person who is not licensed as a contractor to advertise for construction work, or a work of improvement covered by existing law if the aggregate contract price for labor is less than $500, and the person states in the advertisement that they are not a licensed contractor. Current law sets the threshold at $500 but includes labor, materials, and other items.

AB 1949 (Low-D): Employees: bereavement leave

This bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 5 days of bereavement leave upon the death of a family member. The bill would require that leave be completed within 3 months of the date of death and that it be taken pursuant to any existing bereavement leave policy of the employer if one exists.

AB 1993 (Wicks-D): Employment: COVID-19 vaccination requirements

This bill would require an employer to require each person who is an employee or independent contractor, and who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, to show proof to the employer that the person has been vaccinated against COVID-19. This bill would establish an exception from this vaccination requirement for a person who is ineligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical condition or disability or because of a sincerely held religious belief and would require compliance with various other state and federal laws.

It repeals these provisions when the federal Centers for Disease Control determines that COVID-19 vaccinations are no longer necessary for the health and safety of individuals.

AB 2188 (Quirk-D): Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis

This bill would make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace or upon an employer-required drug screening test that has found the person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their urine, hair, or bodily fluids.

SB 1458 (Limon-D): Workers’ compensation: disability benefits: gender disparity

This bill increases disability payments to claimants by the percentage of disparity in earnings between genders as reported by the applicant’s employer in its pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The bill would apply prospectively to injuries occurring on or after January 1, 2023.

You can see all the bills CLCA is monitoring plus any advocacy positions taken by visiting the CLCA Legislation Center.

Jay Martinez, CLCA 2021 Director of Legislation
Jay Martinez
JVM Landscape Construction, Inc.
CLCA Legislative Director