Publication Details

The California Legislative Report - September 2020

Sep 1, 2020 | Related Attorney Michael S. Kalt | Topic: Employment

The 2020 California Legislative session drew to a close with the expiration of the August 31st deadline for the Legislature to pass any bills. And, as expected, a number of significant employment related bills—many COVID-19 related—were passed and sent to Governor Gavin Newsom for signature or veto. These include bills that would:

  • Expand the CFRA to apply to employers with five or more employees and expand the family members for whom leave could be taken due to a serious medical condition (SB 1383);
  • Enact “COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave” for employers with 500 or more employees (AB 1867);
  • Create a presumption of workers’ compensation coverage and enact new employer notice requirements related to COVID-19 exposure (SB1159/AB 685);
  • Amend independent contractor statute (AB 5), including expanding the professional services and industries exempted from the so-called ABC Test for worker classification purposes (AB 2257);
  • Require larger employers to annually submit “pay data reports” to the DFEH (SB 973);
  • Require California corporations to have directors from “underrepresented communities” (AB 979);
  • Add human resources professionals and supervisors to the list of “mandated reporters” for child abuse purposes (AB 1963);
  • Extend for an additional year the “employment” exemptions from the California Consumer Privacy Act (AB 1281);
  • Expedite the process for the Department of Industrial Relations to approve “work sharing plans” submitted by employers in lieu to layoffs (AB 1731); and
  • Require employers to notify newly-hired employees regarding any federal, state or locally declared disasters (SB 1102).

There were also several bills that stalled, including to require that employers provide ten days of bereavement leave (AB 2999), clarify various wage and hour issues for telecommuting employees (AB 1492), increase the amount of paid sick leave under California’s statewide law (AB 3216), enact a PAGA holiday for meal and rest period claims involving telecommuting employees (SB 729), and impose new posting and document retention requirements for employer wellness programs (AB 648). However, since this is the first year of a two-year legislative cycle, these and other previously-introduced bills may be reconsidered in 2021.

Governor Newsom has until September 30th to sign any bills which, if enacted, will take effect on January 1, 2021, unless specifically identified as an urgency provision. 

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