Employee Relations and Administrative Services End of Session Bills
September 2, 2016
The 2015-16 Legislative Session gaveled out on August 31. Overall, Employee Relations and Administrative Services related bills fared well, and CSAC will continue to advocate for counties as the Governor considers signing or vetoing legislation. The following is a list of hot bills in the Employee Relations and Administrative Services area that were active right up until adjournment.
AB 1676 (Campos) was enrolled. This bill clarifies existing law to ensure that prior salary alone cannot be used to justify any disparities in pay rates. After initial concerns from CSAC and other employer organizations, the author worked to amend the bill and CSAC was able to come to a neutral position. Counties support gender equity in hiring and contracting; in its current form, AB 1676 addresses gender equity in the workplace via compromise that county employers can work with to ensure appropriate progress is made to remedy problem situations.
AB 1244 (Gray) was enrolled. This bill creates notification and suspension guidelines for physicians or practitioners in the workers’ compensation system who have been suspended from the Medi-Cal system for reasons like felony conviction or misdemeanor like fraud or abuse. CSAC was pleased to support this bill, which is now awaiting action by the Governor.
AB 2835 (Cooper) would have required in-person orientations to new employees at public agencies with very specific parameters – including dedicated time for employee unions. CSAC strongly opposed this bill, along with a large coalition of local agency and school employers, and is pleased to report that it died on the Senate Floor in the waning hours of session.
SB 654 (Jackson) was enrolled and currently awaits gubernatorial action. This bill creates a mandate for employers to provide 12 weeks of protected leave for pregnancy, on top of the already existing leave options. CSAC opposed this bill along with a large coalition on the grounds that California is already recognized as a very family-friendly state with ample opportunities for employee leave. Employers are already required to provide many months of protected leave under Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and pregnancy-related disability leave. This leave is potentially duplicative and problematic for employers trying to manage staffing and workloads.
SB 1063 (Hall) was enrolled. This bill prohibits employers from paying employees a wage rate less than the wage rate paid to employees of a different race or ethnicity for substantially similar work. CSAC, along with a coalition of other employer groups, opposed the bill on the grounds that additional legislation related to equal pay (2015’s SB 358) just took effect, and employees, employers, and the courts need time to interpret and implement the new boundaries of equal pay before seeking to expand it even further.
SB 1160 (Mendoza), related to utilization review reform in the workers’ compensation system, was enrolled. CSAC and coalition partners were able to withdraw initial opposition to this bill when language was added to address issues of fraud and friction within the workers’ compensation lien system.