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Salary History, Criminal Convictions and CFRA Expansion: Oh My! – Pending Legislation for 2017

By Faith Driscoll, Esq.

The 2017 legislative session is officially under way.  The deadline to introduce bills in this legislative cycle expired in February and there are some significant employment bills among the sea of new potential laws.  CalSHRM’s Governmental Affairs Director has prepared a comprehensive summary of all the pending employment-related bills, so check that out if the list below isn’t enough to make you think we aren’t in Kansas anymore!

Opportunity to Work:  A.B. 5 proposes the Opportunity to Work Act, which would require employers with at least 10 employees to first offer additional work hours to existing nonexempt staff before hiring additional employees or contractors.  The bill is similar to a local law in San Francisco for certain large retailers and one in San Jose that will take effect in March.

Pay Equity:  A.B. 168 would ban employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. The bill would apply to all employers, including state and local governments.  Only private employers, however, would have to provide applicants with the relevant position's pay scale.  There is also a bill (A.B. 46) that would clarify that existing pay equity laws apply to both private and public employers.

Arbitration:  S.B. 33 isn't directly related to the workplace but it would impact arbitration agreements.  Under the bill, it would be unlawful to require the waiver of a legal right stemming from fraud or identity theft or any other wrongful use of personal identity information as a condition of entering into a contract for goods or services.  Among other things, waivers would need to be in writing and not presented as a condition of entering into a contract. This means all employer arbitration agreements would need to be revised to include a carve out for the covered situations.

Family Leave:  S.B. 62 would allow an employee to take leave to care for more individuals under the California Family Rights Act.  The bill would expand the term "child" to include a domestic partner's children and would remove restrictions based on age and dependent status.  It would also permit employees to take leave to care for a grandparent, grandchild, sibling or domestic partner with a serious health condition.  Additionally, the definition of "parent" would be revised to include in-laws.

Parental Leave:  Under S.B. 63, employers with 20-49 employees in a 75-mile radius would have to provide eligible male and female employees with up to 12 weeks of job-protected baby-bonding leave. The existing law only applies to larger businesses with 50 or more workers. 

These are among some of the bills that will have a large impact on employers, both large and small.  Stay tuned to hear about how these potential new laws make their way through the Senate and Assembly.  Better yet, take a few minutes to read more about them and contact your local legislator to let them know how these bills could affect business in California!  Visit http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ to locate the representative in your district.  You can also share your thoughts with HR practitioners in SHRM T/K’s Member Forum.  To access the page, log on, then select the Member Forum page from the Members menu.  Don't forget to subscribe to receive notifications of new posts!

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