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Labor

AB 1035 (Ramos) COVID-19 emergency: small businesses: immunity from civil liability. 

Summary: This bill would exempt a small business with 25 or fewer employees from liability for an injury or illness to a person due to coronavirus (COVID-19) based on a claim that the person contracted COVID-19 while at that small business, or due to the actions of that small business. The bill would require the small business, for this exemption to apply, to have implemented and abided by all applicable state and local health laws, regulations, and protocols. The bill would not permit this exemption to apply if the injury or illness resulted from a grossly negligent act or omission, willful or wanton misconduct, or unlawful discrimination by the business or an employee of the business.

Location: Senate Judiciary Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 77-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

AB 1850 (Gonzalez) Worker classification: employees and independent contractors.

Summary: This is the omnibus bill for making changes to AB 5. The bill would exempt from the 3-part ABC test for employment status and instead applies the test set forth in the California Supreme Court’s Borello decision to certain occupations such as musicians, insurance inspectors and competition judges, subject to specified conditions, adds appraisers and certain master class teachers to the professional services exemption, revises the freelancer exemption, and recasts the exemption for referral agencies. As proposed in AB 1850, there will be nearly fifty occupations or business relationships that are not subject to the ABC Test in Labor Code § 2750.3. Many of these exemptions will require a careful analysis by a business if they want to ensure passing muster with the Labor Commissioner, the Employment Development Department (EDD) and their workers’ compensation insurance company premium auditors.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 76-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

AB 1947 (Kalra) Employment violation complaints: requirements: time.

Summary: This bill would extend the statute of limitations for filing complaints with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) alleging workplace retaliation from six months to one year and authorizes the payment of attorney’s fees to employees who successfully sue for retaliation based on whistleblowing.

Location: Senate Judiciary Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 46-23

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

AB 2143 (Stone) Settlement agreements: employment disputes.

Summary: This bill would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing any provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts an “aggrieved person” from obtaining future employment with the employer against which a claim or action has been filed.

Location: Senate Judiciary Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor on Consent, 75-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

AB 2257 (Gonzalez) Worker classification: employees and independent contractors: occupations: professional services.

Summary: This bill exempts from the three-part ABC test for employment status and instead applies the test set forth in the California Supreme Court’s Borello decision (1989) to certain occupations, subject to specified conditions, in connection with creating, marketing, promoting, distributing sound recordings or musical compositions and performing in single-engagement live events. It also recasts the professional services exemption for various freelancer and creative professions to require that these individuals are not replacing employees, are not primarily performing their work at the hiring entity’s business location, and are not restricted from working for more than one entity. This bill takes the provisions of AB 1850 that have broad appeal and adds an urgency provision to take effect immediately upon approval. 

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 77-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

AB 2399 (Committee on Insurance) Paid family leave: qualifying exigency.

Summary: This bill would revise definitions for paid family leave purposes, including the terms “care recipient,” “care provider,” and “family care leave,” for the purpose of the qualifying exigency provisions.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor on Consent, 75-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

AB 2999 (Low) Employees: bereavement leave.

Summary: This bill would enact the Bereavement Leave Act of 2020 to require an employer to grant an employee up to 10 business days of unpaid bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, in accordance with certain procedures, and subject to certain exclusions. The bill would prohibit an employer from interfering with or restraining the exercise or attempt to exercise the employee’s right to take this leave. This bill would authorize an employee who has been discharged, disciplined, or discriminated against for exercising their right to bereavement leave to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or bring a civil action against their employer for reinstatement, specified damages, and attorney’s fees.

Location: Senate Judiciary Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 45-13

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Judiciary Committee

AB 3075 (Gonzalez) Wages: enforcement.

Summary: This bill would require the articles of incorporation to also contain a statement signed by the filers, under penalty of perjury, that the filer is not an owner, director, officer, managing agent, or any other person acting on behalf of an employer that has an outstanding final judgment issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or a court of law for violation of any wage order or provision of the Labor Code. The bill also states that nothing in the statutory provisions regarding enforcement of various wage and hour laws precludes a local jurisdiction from enforcing local labor standards that are at least as stringent as the state standards. The effect of this change would allow local jurisdictions to enforce state standards and not just more stringent ones.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 53-19

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

AB 3216 (Kalra) Employee leave: authorization. 

Summary: This bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for any employer to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of family care and medical leave during any 12-month period due to a qualifying exigency related to the covered public health emergency or state of emergency, as those terms are defined. The bill would further make it an unlawful employment practice for any employer to refuse to grant leave to care for a child, spouse, or parent for whom the employee is responsible for providing care if the family member school or place of care has been closed, or the care provider of the family member is unavailable, due to a state of emergency. AB 3216 is one of several bills opposed by a large business coalition led by the California Chamber of Commerce.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 44-17

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

SB 973 (Jackson) Employers: annual report: pay data.

Summary: This bill would authorize the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) to receive, investigate, conciliate, mediate, and prosecute complaints alleging practices unlawful under those discriminatory wage rate provisions. This bill would require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer that has 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the DFEH that contains specified wage information. The bill would require that the information be made available in a prescribed format and require the DFEH to make the reports available to the division upon request. The bill would authorize the DFEH, if it does not receive the required report from an employer, to seek an order requiring the employer to comply. 

Location: Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 29-9

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

SB 1102 (Monning) Employers: Labor Commissioner: required disclosures.

Summary: This bill would require an employer to include in their written notice to all employees, specified information required in the event of a federal or state declared disaster or applicable to the county or counties in which the employee will be employed; and would prohibit an employer from retaliating against an employee for raising questions about the declarations’ requirements or recommendations. This bill would additionally require an employer to provide an H-2A employee on the day the employee begins work in the state, or begins work for another employer after being transferred, a written notice in Spanish and, if requested by the employee, in English, containing specified information relative to an H-2A employee’s rights pursuant to federal and state law. 

Location: Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 25-11

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Assembly Labor & Employment Committee

SB 1383 (Jackson) Unlawful employment practice: family leave.

Summary: This bill would recast the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) revise to make it an unlawful employment practice for any employer to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period to bond with a new child of the employee or to care for themselves or a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, or domestic partner. The bill would require an employer who employees’ both parents of a child to grant leave to each employee, and also make it an unlawful employment practice for any employer to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid protected leave during any 12-month period due to a qualifying exigency related to the covered active duty or call to covered active duty of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent in the Armed Forces of the United States. The bill would define employee for these purposes as an individual who has at least 1,250 hours of service with the employer during the previous 12-month period, unless otherwise provided. These provisions apply to employers with 5 or more employees.

Location: Assembly Desk

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 21-12

Next Action: Pending referral to policy committee in the Assembly

Taxes

AB 276 (Friedman) Personal income taxes: qualified employer plan: loans: CARES Act.

Summary: This bill would, for purposes of the Personal Income Tax Law, provide conformity to those qualified employer plan loan provisions of the federal CARES Act. Current federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (federal CARES Act), among other things, in the case of any loan from a qualified employer plan to a qualified individual, as defined, made during the 180-day period beginning on March 27, 2020, increases the maximum amount of a permitted loan to up to (1) the greater of $10,000 or 100% of a participant’s vested account balance or (2) $100,000, whichever is less, and delays the repayment period for a qualified individual with an outstanding loan for up to one year.

Location: Senate Education Committee

Last Action: Gutted and amended on June 2, 2020; no vote history on current version

Next Action: Expect bill to be referred back to Senate Rules Committee for further referral to policy committee

AB 398 (Chu) COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Act.

Summary: This bill would, on and after January 1, 2021, but before January 1, 2026, impose a tax on a large business, defined as a for-profit, private entity that has more than 500 employees that perform any part of their duties within the state, at the rate of $275 per employee. The bill would require the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to administer the tax and collect the tax pursuant to the Fee Collection Procedures Law.

Location: Senate Governance & Finance Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor on Consent, 76-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Governance & Finance Committee

AB 1557 (Burke) Income taxes: federal CARES Act: gross income: loan forgiveness. 

Summary: This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, would exclude from gross income, for state income tax purposes, any covered loan amount forgiven pursuant to the federal CARES Act.

Location: Senate Governance & Finance Committee

Last Action: Gutted and amended on June 30. No vote history on this version. 

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Governance & Finance Committee

SB 956 (Jackson) Taxation: tax expenditures: California Tax Expenditure Review Board.

Summary: This bill would establish in state government the California Tax Expenditure Review Board as an independent advisory body to comprehensively assess major tax expenditures, as defined, and make recommendations to the Legislature. The bill would require the board to be composed of 5 members, as specified, who would serve without compensation.

Location: Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 25-13

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee

SB 972 (Skinner) Corporation taxes: disclosure.

Summary: This bill would, on or before April 1, 2021, and on and before each April 1 thereafter, require the Franchise Tax Board to compile a list of all taxpayers subject to tax under the Corporation Tax Law, with gross receipts of $5,000,000,000 or more, as measured by gross receipts, less returns and allowances, for the taxable year reported on a return in the previous calendar year.

Location: Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee 

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 25-12

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Assembly Revenue & Taxation Committee

Workers’ Compensation

AB 196 (Gonzalez) Workers’ compensation: COVID-19: essential occupations and industries. 

Summary: This bill would define “injury,” for certain employees who are employed in an occupation or industry deemed essential in the Governor’s Executive Order of March 19, 2020 (Executive Order N-33-20), except as specified, or who are subsequently deemed essential, to include coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that develops or manifests itself during a period of employment of those persons in the essential occupation or industry. The bill would apply to injuries occurring on or after March 1, 2020, would create a conclusive presumption that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment, and would extend that presumption following termination of service for a period of 90 days, commencing with the last date actually worked.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 66-7

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee 

AB 664 (Cooper) Workers’ compensation: injury: communicable diseases. 

Summary: This bill would define “injury,” for certain state and local firefighting personnel, peace officers, certain hospital employees, and certain fire and rescue services coordinators who work for the Office of Emergency Services to include being exposed to or contracting, on or after January 1, 2020, a communicable disease, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), that is the subject of a state or local declaration of a state of emergency which is issued on or after January 1, 2020. The bill would create a conclusive presumption, as specified, that the injury arose out of and in the course of the employment. The bill would apply to injuries that occurred prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. The bill would also exempt these provisions from the apportionment requirements.

Location: Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

Last Action: Passed the Assembly Floor, 76-0

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Senate Labor, Public Employment & Retirement Committee

SB 1159 (Hill) Workers’ compensation: COVID-19: critical workers.

Summary: This bill would, until an unspecified date, define “injury” for an employee to include illness or death resulting from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) under specified circumstances. It would also create a disputable presumption that an injury that develops or manifests itself while an employee is employed arose out of and in the course of the employment. The bill would require an employee to exhaust their paid sick leave benefits and meet specified certification requirements before receiving any temporary disability benefits or, for police officers, firefighters, and other specified government employees, a leave of absence.

Location: Assembly Insurance Committee

Last Action: Passed the Senate Floor, 28-11

Next Action: Pending policy hearing in Assembly Insurance Committee