Friday, January 2, 2015

Two new employment laws in effect in California

With the new year brings new employment laws.  Recently I attended the Cook Brown LLP law firm's legislative update where they discussed two new updates effective in 2015.  Cook Brown LLP Partner Barbara Cotter gave me a quick summary of these below:

Governor Brown signed two pieces of legislation last year that will have a major impact on nearly all California employers.  One deals with the common use of temporary agency or staffing agency employees.  The other deals with paid sick leave.  The first law, now found at Labor Code Section 2810.3,  provides that an employer who obtains workers from a staffing or temporary agency will be held responsible for all wages and worker’s compensation coverage due those workers, even if they are formally hired, supervised and paid by the agency.   This dramatically changes the risk of hiring temporary workers.  Previously, an employer could only be held responsible for agency employees where the employer actually controlled the work performed by the employees and provided hands-on instruction on how the work was to be accomplished.  This new law totally supersedes those prior rules.  Now, an employer can be held strictly responsible even if the employer has never met the staffing agency employees, never dealt with them directly and does  not dictate how they perform the work.  Two key exceptions apply however:  In order to be subject to this law, the employer must have at least 25 workers (including those supplied by the agency); and must utilize more than five agency workers.  This law is effective January 1, 2015.

The second law, known as the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” requires that on July 1, 2015, an employee who works for thirty or more days for an employer is entitled to paid sick days to be accrued at a rate of no less than one hour for every thirty hours worked.  An employee is entitled to use sick pay after on or after the ninetieth day of employment.  The sick pay can be capped at three days per year.  Limited exceptions apply to employees subject to collective bargaining agreements and in certain industries, such as in-home care.  The employer must provide a report on the sick pay accrued and used, along with the employee’s paystub.  Employers are required to post a notice of this new law.  The Department of Industrial Relations has published a sample notice on its website at