To close out the 2021 legislative season, Governor Gavin Newsom signed dozens of bills into law, many of which directly affect California employers.  In addition to the coverage in prior blog posts, which are linked below, this article provides an overview of key new employment laws.

  1. SB 62: Restrictions for Garment Manufacturers
    • Prohibits employers from paying any employee engaged in the performance of garment manufacturing by piece rate.
    • Any entities who contract with a garment manufacturer will be jointly and severally liable for any unpaid wages. Employees can also recover attorneys’ fees and $200 per pay period for each pay period in which the employee is paid by the piece rate.
    • The bill extends the time period for maintaining copies of all contracts, invoices, purchase orders, work orders, style or cut sheets from three years to four years.
  1. AB 701: Regulations on Use of Productivity Quotas for Warehouse and Distribution Center Employees
    • Requires warehouse and distribution center employers to provide employees with written information regarding productivity quotas.
    • See Sheppard Mullin’s prior blog post on this new law.
  1. SB 807: Employer Record Retention Requirement Expanded
    • Extends employer record retention requirement to four years, with specified extensions when a complaint has been filed.
    • Modifies Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) authority in a variety of ways.
  1. AB 1003: Increased Penalties for Wage Theft
    • Makes the intentional theft of wages, including gratuities, in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee, or $2,350 in the aggregate from 2 or more employees, by an employer in any consecutive 12-month period punishable as grand theft.
    • For purposes of this section, independent contractors are considered employees.
    • See Sheppard Mullin’s prior blog post.
  1. SB 606: Expanded Enforcement Power for Cal/OSHA
    • Expands Cal/OSHA’s enforcement power in a variety of ways.
    • Establishes a rebuttable presumption that an employer’s written policy that violates specified health and safety regulations exists at all of an employer’s worksites.
    • Adds a definition of “egregious violation” that carries specified additional penalties.
  1. AB 1033: CFRA Expanded to Cover Parent-in-Laws
    • Amends California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to include protection for employees caring for a parent-in-law.
    • Sets forth a mediation pilot program for employers with between 5 and 19 employees.
  1. SB 639: Phase Out of Program Allowing Disabled Employees to Receive Less Than Minimum Wage
    • Prohibits the issuance of licenses to disabled employees allowing them to earn less than the minimum wage. Existing licensees can renew their licenses until January 1, 2025.
  1. SB 727: Expanded Penalties for Contractors
    • Extends a direct contractor’s liability for any debt owed to a wage claimant by a subcontractor to include penalties, liquidated damages, and interest.
  1. AB 1561: Certain ABC Test Exemptions Modified
    • Revises several of the exemptions from the ABC test, including licensed manicurists, subcontractors, data aggregators, underwriters, and manufactured housing dealers.
  1. AB 1506: Newspaper Carrier Exemption Modified
    • Extends the sunset to the newspaper carriers’ exemption from the ABC test for employment statement to 2025 and requires publishers and distributors to report certain information to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”).
  1. AB 1407: Implicit Bias Program Mandated for Nursing Program Graduates
    • Requires hospitals to implement an evidence-based implicit bias program as part of the training of new nursing program graduates.
  1. AB 1023: Requirement for Public Works Contractors to Furnish Pay Records Modified
    • Modifies existing requirements for contractors or subcontractors of public work projects to furnish pay records to the Labor Commissioner once every 30 days while work is being performed on the project and within 30 days after the final day work is performed.
    • A failure to furnish records results in a penalty of $100 per day, not to exceed $5,000 per project.
  1. SB 270: Expanded Power for Public Employee Unions
    • Authorizes public employee unions to file a special unfair labor practices charge before the Public Employment Relations Board against public employers that fail to comply with existing law requiring disclosure of employee information to public employee unions.
  1. SB 362: Restrictions on Use of Quotas for Pharmacy Employees
    • Provides restrictions on chain community pharmacies using quotas for employees.
  1. SB 646: Certain Janitorial Employees Exempted from PAGA
    • Exempts from the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) janitorial employees represented by a labor organization with respect to work performed under a valid collective bargaining agreement that contains certain provisions.
    • This provision expires when the CBA expires or on July 1, 2028, whichever is early.

Each legislative year brings changes to existing employment laws and new employment laws for employers to grapple with.  If you have further questions about how the above laws may impact your business, contact your Sheppard Mullin attorney.