Question:

I am in charge of hiring and managing employees for my company in Salinas. I understand Governor Brown recently signed several employment bills. Which bills will affect my company?

Answer:

ASeveral new bills relate to hiring and employment relations, and will become law on January 1, 2012. Some of the new laws you should be aware of include the following:

Senate Bill 459 imposes additional penalties forwillful misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor. A “willful misclassification” is a voluntary and knowing misclassification of a new hire or existing worker to avoid employee status. SB 459 imposes fines ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 per violation, and requires the employer to post a notice of the misclassification prominently on its website or another location visible to employees and the public for one year. Willful misclassification by licensed contractors will be reported to the Contractors State License Board for potential discipline.

Assembly Bill 469 requires most private employers to provide a written notice to each non-exempt employee at the time of hiring. The notice must be in the language the employer normally uses to communicate with employees, and must specify:

  • the rate of pay;
  • whether the employee is paid by the hour, shift, day, week, salary, piece, commission, or otherwise;
  • any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, such as for meals or lodging;
  • the regular payday;
  • the employer’s legal name and any other names used by the employer in doing business;
  • the physical and mailing addresses of the employer’s main office or principal place of business;
  • the employer’s telephone number;
  • and
    the name, address, and telephone number of the employers’ workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Assembly Bill 22 is a major change in existing law. This bill prohibits employers or prospective employers, excluding certain financial institutions, from obtaining consumer credit reports for most employment purposes. Exceptions may apply when screening for certain jobs, including law enforcement and management positions, specified jobs with regular access to at least $10,000 in cash, or jobs that require background checks by law.

Senate Bill 299 requires employers to maintain and pay for health insurance coverage during pregnancy disability leave at the same level as if the employee was not on leave.

Assembly Bill 1236 provides that the E-Verify Program, used to check employee eligibility to work in the United States, will remain voluntary for most private employers. This new law prohibits state and local governments from mandating use of the electronic employment verification database, except when required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds.

Depending on the nature of your business, you should be aware that Assembly Bill 243 requires an employer who is a farm labor contractor to disclose, in an itemized statement, the name and address of the legal entity that secured the contractor’s services.

Finally, Assembly Bill 1396 gives employers until January 1, 2013, to put in place written agreements with employees who receive commissions as a method of payment.

For more information on these bills, visit www.leginfo.ca.gov/

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