Labor Relations

Significant labor legislation that was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor included: SB 316 (Yee) eliminating the requirement that workers' compensation insurers place 65% of written premium in reserve; SB 783 (Torlakson) extending to temporary amusement rides provisions of the permanent ride requirements currently in law; SB 869 (Ridley-Thomas) expanding the ability of the Labor Commissioner to identify employees who are failing to provide workers' compensation insurance; AB 338 (Coto) extending the "window period" during which an injured worker can receive up to 104 weeks of temporary disability benefits from two years to five years; AB 650 (Lieu) requiring employees to notify employers that they may qualify for the federal earned income tax credit; AB 798 (Assembly Insurance Committee) allowing the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges (CCCs) to obtain quarterly wage data from the Employment Development Department on community college students to assess the impact of education on the employment and earnings of students; AB 812 (Hernandez) allowing workers' compensation insurers to charge an employer up to three times the estimated annual insurance premium and audit costs if the employer fails to provide the insurer access to employment records to conduct a payroll audit; AB 1073 (Nava) allowing for a greater number of chiropractic, physical therapy, and occupational therapy visits in those circumstances where an injured worker's treatment required surgery; AB 1269 (Hernandez) allowing the Administrative Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation (AD) to adopt a special fee schedule for inpatient facilities in burn cases; AB 1364 (Benoit) requiring certain insurers to place larger workers' compensation deposits in California if its home state law on insolvency does not conform to California law; AB 1564 (Nava) prohibiting the state from giving or receiving assistance for any condition resulting from a labor controversy.

Much of the labor relations legislation was vetoed by the Governor mainly because the major business-oriented lobbying groups perceived them to be what they label as "job killer" bills. These included: SB 18 (Perata) requiring an awarding body that chooses to use funds derived from the Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006 to initiate and enforce (or contract with a third-party to enforce) a labor compliance program; SB 180 (Migden) and SB 650 (Migden) authorizing agricultural employees to select collective bargaining representation through a specified "majority signup election" process; SB 549 (Corbett) providing employees in California with the right to take up to four days of unpaid leave from work upon the death of specified relatives; SB 557 (Wiggins) adding clinical audiologist to the list of medical professionals eligible for appointment as qualified medical examiners of medical-legal issues arising in disputed workers' compensation cases; SB 622 (Padilla) prohibiting willful misclassification of employees as independent contractors; SB 727 (Kuehl) extending eligibility for temporary disability insurance benefits to employees who are not able to work due to their taking care of a grandparent, grandchild, sibling, or parent-in-law; SB 836 (Kuehl) adding familial status to the list of characteristics that are prohibited bases of discrimination under the employment provision of the Fair Employment and Housing Act; SB 906 (Runner) clarifying that pharmacies and other providers of medical treatment, services or supplies in the workers compensation system may contract with an agent or assignee to perform specified functions on their behalf; SB 936 (Perata) increasing the number of weeks of indemnity payments for the range of percentages of permanent disability ratings; SB 942 (Migden) removing impediments to eligibility for supplemental job displacement (retraining) benefits; AB 124 (Price) extending current law governing meal and rest periods to pool lifeguards and stage assistants employed in the local public sector; AB 77 (Arambula) requiring an employer who is a farm labor contractor to disclose in the itemized statement furnished to employees up to five names and addresses of the legal entities that secured the employer's services, except as provided; AB 435 (Brownley) extending the statute of limitations for an employee to file a civil action against an employer for wage discrimination and extends the time period that an employer is required to maintain wage and job classification records; AB 448 (Arambula) ensuring that workers receive the same relief for minimum wage violations regardless of whether they pursue their claims administratively or through courts; AB 504 (Swanson) prohibiting any choice of law clause, venue-selection clause, or forum-selection clause in binding employment materials that are imposed on an employee as a condition of employment; AB 1045 (Richardson) requiring the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to adopt a standard to protect workers from being exposed to excessive heat indoors; AB 1164 (De Leon) allowing family child care providers to form, join and participate in "provider organizations" for purposes of negotiating with the state agencies on specified matters; AB 1467 (DeSaulnier) removing specified exemptions in existing law that allow tobacco smoking in certain indoor workplaces, as well as restrict indoor tobacco smoking in owner-operated businesses; AB 1636 (Mendoza) requiring employers to make the job retraining voucher available as soon as the worker's eligibility for the voucher is established, and the amount should be based on the same reasonable estimate of permanent disability if that percentage cannot be determined within 60 days from the termination of temporary disability benefits; AB 1707 (Assembly Labor and Employment Committee) revising the requirement of existing law concerning an employee's right to inspect personnel records; and AB 1710 (Swanson) requiring that temporary services employers and leasing employers, with certain exceptions, pay their employees weekly, regardless of when the assignment ends, unless the employee is discharged, quits, or is assigned to work for a client on a day-to-day basis, or if the employee is assigned to work for a client engaged in a labor dispute.