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What’s Going on in the California Legislature?

When the California Legislature session closed early Saturday morning, several important employment bills made their way to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for either a signature or veto. Governor Brown has until October 15th to sign or veto the bills. Poms will keep you updated on the progress of the most significant bills.

Here is a look at what bills have made it to the Governor’s desk:

AB-168 Prohibiting Salary History Inquiries

This bill, while not directly tied to the California Fair pay Act (CFPA), is related to it and follows in the footsteps of AB-1676, which prohibits prior salary from being a “bona fide factor other than sex” when justifying a pay disparity between employees of the opposite genders.

AB-168 would prohibit an employer from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history information. If passed, the bill would also require employers to provide a pay scale for the position the applicant is applying for, upon reasonable request.

AB-500 Employee Code of Conduct

This bill would require that the schools that maintain a section on employee interactions with pupils in its employee code of conduct would provide a copy of said section to parents and guardians of pupils and to post it on the school’s website.

AB-568 School & Community College: Paid Maternity Leave

This bill would require school districts, charter schools, and community colleges to provide at least 6 weeks of paid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions.

AB-1008 Ban the Box

Like the “Ban the Box” ordinances passed in Los Angeles and San Francisco, this bill would prohibit employers from asking about job applicants criminal records. If enacted, background checks for employment purposes would be limited to only disclosing misdemeanors within three years of conviction, and then, only for crimes which a jail sentence may be imposed. Felonies would be limited to those that had resulted in a conviction during the past seven years.

AB-569 Discrimination: Reproductive Health

This bill seeks to protect women from being fired or disciplined over decisions related to their reproductive health. That would include the use of any drug, device, or medical service related to reproductive health by the employee or a dependent.

This bill would add a new section to the Labor Code, making any violation of the bill subject to the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

AB-1209 Publishing Gender Pay Differentials

If enacted, this bill would require employers with 250 or more employees to publish the gender pay differentials for their exempt employees on their company website by 2020.

The law would specifically be looking for the difference between the mean and median salary of male exempt employees and female exempt employees.

AB-1565 Work Hours: Overtime Compensation

This bill is similar to one proposed by the Obama Administration, and provides that an executive, administrative, or professional employee would be exempt from overtime if they earn a monthly salary equivalent to $3,956 or twice the state minimum wage, whichever is higher.

California’s exemption will reach this salary level on its own as the minimum wage increases by 2019 (2020 for smaller employees), but this bill seeks to speed up the process.

AB-978 OSHA Injury and Illness Prevention Program

If enacted, this bill would require employers, upon written request, to provide a copy of the written injury and illness prevention program to an employee or authorized representative.

SB-63 Small Business Parental Leave

The bill proposes a requirement on small employers to provide parental leave, specifying employers with 20-49 employees would be required to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave following a child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

The current leave law, outlined in the California Family Rights Act, presently only applies to businesses with 50 or more employees.

SB-396 Harassment Training: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation

If passed, this bill would require sexual harassment training would include training on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.

Under the current law, employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide at least two hours of training regarding sexual harassment to all of their supervisory employees every two years.

SB-306 Retaliation Actions: Complaints

This bill revises retaliation claim procedures radically. Under California law, it would authorize injunctive relief (such as reinstating the employee) in retaliation cases before the case has been completely investigated or litigated to determine if a violation has occurred. The bill would also allow the Labor Commissioner to cite an employer for retaliation independently, without an employee complaint.