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June 18, 2015

House of Origin Deadline Pushes CA Legislature to Pass Bills

The first year of the 2015-2016 California legislative session has advanced beyond the June 5th deadline for bills to be voted out of their house of origin. Several key labor and employment bills that WG has been actively lobbying are updated below.

AB 67 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) – Oppose: This bill would require employers to compensate non-exempt employees at no less than twice the employee’s regular rate of pay on Thanksgiving. Collective bargaining agreements would not be covered by this legislation as long as they provide holiday premium pay. The previous version of this bill would have required double pay on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. WG and a large coalition of business interests is opposed to this bill because it increases employer costs and violates employers’ constitutional rights by forcing the recognition of certain days as family holidays. If passed, this bill would also set a new precedent for future efforts to mandate double pay on other annual holidays. AB 67 failed passage in the Assembly, but remains eligible to be heard next year.

AB 465 (Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina) – Oppose: AB 465 would outlaw pre-dispute employment arbitration agreements. These agreements have been authorized by both the California Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. WG is part of a large business coalition opposing this bill because it will lead to an increase in litigation costs for both individual claims and an increase in the number of representative and class action lawsuits against California employers. This bill passed out of the Assembly, was passed by the Senate Labor Committee, and will next be heard on June 23rd in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

AB 561 (Campos, D-San Jose) – Oppose: This bill is sponsored by the United Farm Workers and was recently amended to drop its most onerous provision. The remaining provision would require an ag employer who appeals or petitions for a writ of review of any order of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, to post a bond in the amount of the entire economic value of the order. Assemblymember Campos made a commitment on the Assembly Floor to further narrow the bill to “make whole awards” only. The bill was passed off the Assembly floor and will be heard on June 24th in the Senate Labor Committee.  WG and allied ag organizations continue to seek the defeat of this bill.

AB 1506 (Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina) – Support: This recently-amended bill would provide employers with a limited opportunity to cure technical violations on an itemized wage statement before being subject to very costly litigation through the Labor Code Private Attorney General Act, or PAGA. AB 1506 will help curb some of the frivolous PAGA claims that businesses face every year. This bill will next be heard in the Senate Labor Committee.

SB 3 (Leno, D-San Francisco) – Oppose: SB 3 would increase the minimum wage on January 1, 2016, to $11 per hour, and on July 1, 2017, to $13 per hour. Beginning January 1, 2019, the minimum wage would be automatically adjusted higher on an annual basis according to the California Consumer Price Index. This bill was passed by the Senate and is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Labor Committee on July 8th.  A large coalition of business interests is strongly opposing this bill.

Please contact WG’s Matthew Allen at (916) 446-1435 for more information.