California has many requirements for the content of an employee wage statement, including this year’s new requirements for employees paid by a piece rate. Employees paid by piece rates must be separately compensated for rest and recovery periods and, where the employee does not earn at least minimum wage in addition to the piece rate, must be separately paid for non-productive time. The amount of time for these periods, the applicable rates of pay, and gross wages for these periods is required to be on the wage statement. Read More
Overturning a trial court ruling, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that teacher tenure laws are constitutional in the case of Vergara v. State of California, decided April 14, 2016.
The case involves nine public school students who challenged several provisions of California’s Education Code that govern K-12 public school teachers’ employment. The basis of the challenge is that the tenure, dismissal, and layoff laws result in grossly ineffective teachers being transferred to lower-performing schools with predominantly minority and low-income populations, rather than being terminated; and that; therefore, those students receive an inferior education. Several associations representing school boards, school superintendents, and school administrators filed amicus briefs in support of the students’ position that the laws are unconstitutional. Read More
The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 in favor of a proposed ordinance that would permit Los Angeles workers to earn at least six paid sick leave days annually. The new paid sick leave entitlement would double the mandatory minimum under California’s statewide paid sick leave law.
The proposed ordinance, which still needs to be drafted by the City Attorney’s Office before final approval, would take effect July 1, 2016. Businesses with 25 employees or fewer would have an additional year to comply with the new requirement.
In general, an employee would be entitled to the paid sick leave if, on or after July 1, 2016, the employee works in the City of Los Angeles for the same employer for 30 days or more within a year. Read More
In Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., decided April 4, 2016, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are associated with a person with disabilities.
Plaintiff Luis Castro-Ramirez’s son was in need of a kidney transplant, required daily dialysis, and Ramirez was the only member of his family capable of operating the dialysis machine. Ramirez drove a delivery truck for Dependable Highway Express, Inc. (DHE). When he began his employment in 2010, he informed his supervisor that he needed to be assigned schedules that would permit him to be home in the evening to administer his son’s dialysis. Read More
In 2004, California enacted the nation’s first paid family leave program, offering up to six weeks of paid leave to workers who need to care for a new baby or an ill family member. The program was financed through disability insurance taxes paid by employees through payroll withholdings. The 2004 program paid 55 percent of the employee’s wages, up to a set maximum of about $1,100 per week. Read More
On April 4, 2016, the California Supreme Court took a stand by issuing a long-awaited opinion in Kirby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. The decision clarifies certain ambiguities in an employer’s obligation to provide suitable seating to employees. At issue was a provision in California’s Wage Orders that requires employers to provide all employees “with suitable seats when the nature of the work reasonably permits the use of seats.” The Court held that “nature of the work” refers to the task performed at a given location where the employee is claiming a right to a suitable seat, instead of a holistic approach. The Court also adopted a “totality of the circumstances” test to assess whether a work location “reasonably permits” suitable seating.
Kirby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. arises from a putative class actions filed by a cashier and bank teller. The plaintiffs alleged their employer violated the suitable seating provision in various California Wage Orders by failing to provide seats. The plaintiffs appealed unfavorable district court decisions to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit requested clarification from the California Supreme Court on the proper interpretation of three areas of the suitable seating provision, including the meaning of “nature of work” and “reasonably permits,” and who bears the burden to show suitable seating is available. Read More
California’s unfriendly business environment took another unprecedented step this week, with Governor Jerry Brown raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by 2022. Governor Brown signed SB 3 into law on April 4, 2016.
The new law annually increases the state minimum wage starting January 2017. California’s minimum wage currently is $10.00 per hour. California employers opposed the bill arguing the minimum wage increases will make it even more difficult for in-state producers to compete with out-of-state employers; employer advocacy groups also argued the bill will result in more employers leaving the state. Read More
California Governor Jerry Brown just announced a compromise that would raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022 and head off competing union-backed ballot measures. The proposal raises the current $10 minimum wage every January starting in 2017 until it reaches $15 in 2022.
Employers with fewer than 25 workers have an extra year to reach $15 per hour. The measure also adds in-home support service workers to the list of employees entitled to three paid sick days per year.
A ballot initiative backed by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West qualified for the November ballot last week. It also would raise the current $10 minimum wage to $15. An SEIU California State Council-backed initiative now gathering signatures would raise the minimum wage for 3.3 million Californians to $15 by 2020 and would provide six paid sick days.
California’s City of Santa Monica’s City Council has adopted an ordinance that enacts minimum wage and paid sick leave requirements for covered employees as well as new regulations pertaining to service charges and surcharges. Ordinance Number 2509 became effective on February 25, 2016, although its provisions will not be implemented until July 1, 2016.
The City Council authorized the City Manager to establish a working group to review and recommend technical adjustments to the adopted Ordinance.
We discuss key provisions below.
Minimum Wage Rates for Non-Hotel Sector Employees
Employers with at least 26 covered employees shall pay no less than the following hourly wages:
- July 1, 2016 – $10.50
- July 1, 2017 – $12.00
- July 1, 2018 – $13.25
- July 1, 2019 – $14.25
- July 1, 2020 – $15.00
Employers with up to 25 employees will have an additional year to satisfy each of these pay rates. Therefore, hourly pay increases for smaller employers will start on July 1, 2017, at $10.50 per hour, reaching $15.00 per hour by July 1, 2021. Read More
New California regulations declaring that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to create a workplace environment that is free from employment practices prohibited by” the California Fair Employment and Housing Act and that “[e]mployers have an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to prevent and promptly correct discriminatory and harassing conduct” will go into effect on April 1, 2016. Read More