CalChamber Capitol News Report: Explains Two Significant New Employment Laws for 2015

Today’s CalChamber Capitol News Report highlights two important new laws that employers need to be aware of in 2015: mandatory paid sick leave and subcontractor liability.

In the video, CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg, General Counsel Erika Frank, and Policy Advocate Jennifer Barrera recap key requirements of these significant new employment laws.

Mandatory Sick Leave

The biggest news in the leaves of absence arena is mandatory paid sick leave.

The Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who has worked in California for 30 days, at an accrual rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.

Employers are allowed to limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment and may put a maximum cap on total accrual of 48 hours or six days.

“All employees, regardless of how long they work or how many hours, now are entitled to the sick leave,” Frank explains. “So many employers had existing policies that only applied to those who worked full time. Now their part-time employees will have to have it as well. In addition, there’s a new positing requirement that employers are going to have to comply with and a new notice that they’ll have to give to their employees at time of hire that work on an hourly basis.”

The effective date for employers to begin providing the paid sick leave benefit is July 1, 2015.

Barrera  clarifies this law isn’t just about when an employee gets sick; it’s about when the employee’s children get sick, and when other family members get sick too.

“One of the significant provisions of the bill was a new definition of what a family member is, to include not just your spouse or a child, but also your sibling, or grandparents as well,” Barrera explains.  “This is a more expansive definition than what we saw in California before and allows an employee to utilize their accrued paid sick leave to care for those individuals as well.”

A free CalChamber white paper provides further details on the paid sick leave mandate.

Another bill, AB 1897, imposes liability on employers that contract for labor.

The purpose of the law is to hold companies accountable for wage-and-hour violations when they use staffing agencies or other labor contractors to supply workers.

Zaremberg asks Barrera to explain the bill’s purpose and elaborate on what the Legislature was trying to solve when passing the bill.

“The Legislature was trying to suggest that if you contract out for labor, you can’t turn a blind eye, that you need to be responsible in your contracting to ensure that an employee is ultimately paid for the hours that they work,” Barrera explains.

In brief, if a labor contractor fails to pay its workers properly or fails to provide workers’ compensation coverage for those employees, the “client employer” can now be held legally responsible and liable. The law contains specific definitions and exclusions.

To help employers understand the nuances of subcontractor liability, CalChamber has put together a Fact Sheet.

CalChamber encourages all employers to review this fact sheet to determine whether their contracts fall within the scope of the bill.

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2015.

Zaremberg outlines what steps employers need to take when contacting out for labor:

“It’s important for them to be able to vet their subcontractors, make sure they’re responsible,  and make sure that they’re going to pay their employees on time.”

CalChamber has numerous products and services to help guide businesses through the implementation of these and other 2015 employment laws.