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BTB Annual Legislative Roundup – Part One of Two

January 18, 2019 by , , , , and

The California Legislature passed several important labor and employment bills during the 2018 session that Governor Brown recently signed into law.  Here is a brief summary of the most notable changes grouped by subject.  All laws are effective January 1, 2019, unless otherwise noted.


Wage & Hour Regulation

Annual State Minimum Wage Increase (SB 3)

In 2016, then-Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 3, which provides for annual increases to the minimum wage.  Starting on January 1, 2019, California’s minimum wage is $12.00 per hour for any employer who employs 26 or more employees or $11.00 per hour for any employer who employs 25 or fewer employees.  The minimum wage will continue to increase by $1.00 each year, until 2023.  After 2023, the minimum wage will increase each year based on the Consumer Price Index, but never by more than 3.5% in one year. 


Family Leave and Accommodation

SB 1123 – Expands Paid Family Leave to Cover FMLA Qualifying Exigency Leaves 

California’s state disability compensation program already contains a paid family leave benefit for those workers who need time off to care for a sick family member or to bond with a child that has recently been born or adopted.  This bill expands the reasons for taking paid family leave to include a “qualifying exigency” related to the active duty military service of a spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child.  To qualify, the family member must be a “covered active duty member,” which means someone who is deployed to a foreign country.  This leave may be used to attend an event sponsored by the military that is related to the deployment or to make alternatives for child care that are necessary when the military member is deployed.

AB 1976 –  Modification of Lactation Accommodation Law 

This bill was passed to support employees who want to pump or express breast milk during the work day for an infant child.  Existing law already required employers to make reasonable efforts to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a location for pumping.  This law clarifies that the place for pumping should be a private location near the employee’s work area that is not a bathroom.   For employers who can only provide a temporary location, this bill clarifies that such temporary locations must be private and free from intrusion and not used for other purposes while the employee expresses milk.  Agricultural employers may provide locations that are private, enclosed, and shaded for this purpose, including the cab of an air-conditioned truck or tractor.  For employers that claim an undue hardship, the bill requires them to make reasonable efforts to provide a private space other than a toilet stall.


Public Sector Labor & Employment

SB 1421 – Increases Public Access to Peace Officer Personnel Records

Under existing law, peace officer personnel records, and any records relating to complaints against peace officers, are confidential and prohibited from disclosure under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”).  This bill changes the CPRA to require certain peace officer personnel records and records relating to specified incidents, complaints, and investigations involving peace officers be made available for public inspection.  The bill allows for redaction to remove a peace officer’s personal information (e.g. home address and telephone number).   The bill also applies a balancing test to determine whether disclosure is required:   If the public interest served by nondisclosure clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure, disclosure is prohibited.

SB 866 – Collection of Union Dues, Mass Communications, etc.

This bill expands collection of dues law as it applies to public employers.  The bill authorizes Unions to request payroll deductions on behalf of its members and requires public employers to honor these requests.  The bill prohibits requiring a Union that certifies that it has and will maintain individual employee authorizations for dues to provide a copy of the individual authorization to the public employer, unless a dispute arises about the existence or terms of the authorization.  The bill prescribes procedures for the making, canceling, and changing a deduction of dues, and requires that these requests be directed to the Union rather than the public employer.  The public employer is required to rely on information provided by the Union, not the employee or an outside organization, regarding whether deductions were properly canceled or changed. 

SB 846 – Defense to Pre-Janus Agency Shop Fees Collected

Janus v. AFSCME held that fair share fees violate the free speech rights of employees who are not Union members but otherwise benefit from working under a collectively bargained contract.  This bill prohibits a public employer, a Union, or any of their employees or agents, from being liable under California law for requiring, deducting, receiving, or retaining fair share fees from public employees.  This bill is a complete defense to any claims or actions if the fair share fee deduction was permitted at the time and paid to the Union prior to June 27, 2018.  The bill applies to pending claims.  Under the bill, “public employer” is broadly defined. 

  1. SB 1085 – Paid Leaves of Absence for Union Stewards/Officers (Govt. Code s. 3558.8)

Under this law, upon request of the Union or an Employee Association, a public employer is required to grant a reasonable leave of absence without loss of compensation or other benefits for employees to serve as stewards or officers of the employee organization.  The employee organization is required to reimburse the public employer for all compensation paid to the employee on leave, unless otherwise agreed to.  Leave can be full-time, part-time or intermittent.  A public employer is not liable for acts or omissions of a public employee on approved leave.  

AB 2012 – Teacher Differential Pay

This bill amended differential pay statutes for public school teachers to expand the definition of differential pay available while on parental leave.  Employees are now guaranteed to be paid no less than 50% of their regular salary for the remaining portion of the 12-workweek period of parental leave.


Health & Safety

AB 2334 – Cal/OSHA Violations (Govt. Code s. 1159)

This new law tolls the six-month statute of limitations for Cal/OSHA to issue a citation for recordkeeping violations until such violation is corrected or discovered by Cal/OSHA.  It also provides that if Federal OSHA eliminates the requirement to electronically provide injury and illness data, Cal/OSHA will convene an advisory committee to determine next steps to protect goals of worker safety

The material on this website is provided by Beeson, Tayer & Bodine for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the information presented. Some of the articles are updated periodically, and are marked with the date of the last update. Again, readers should consult with their own legal counsel for the most current information and to obtain professional advice before acting on any of the information presented.