CAPHCC Legislative Year In Review by Richard Markuson, Lobbyist

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PHCC of California’s Year in Review

Final 2014 Recap

The 2014 session is over and here are the results from the bills we tracked. The 2015 session reconvened in January – so more legislation is on its way.

One of the real stinker bills was AB 2416 (Gordon) that would have allowed workers to file a wage lien upon real and personal property of an employer, or other property owners, for unpaid wages and other compensation without a wage order. PHCC of California (CAPHCC) joined a broad business coalition to defeat the bill in the Senate by a vote of 13-15.

CAPHCC supported AB 1705 (Williams) that defines “substantially complex.” Public agencies can ignore retention limits if they define a project as complex, which has led some agencies to characterize ALL projects they pursue as complex. This bill narrows this loophole. Governor Brown agreed with CAPHCC and signed the bill.

CAPHCC also supported AB 1939 (Daly) that will authorize a contractor to recover, under certain circumstances, costs if a private work is later deemed a public works project. Brown signed the bill.

CAPHCC opposed SB 792 (Padilla) – a last minute “gut and amend bill” that would have created a new monopoly for union painters to apply and remove anti-corrosion coatings. Brown vetoed this bill saying, “…development of these standards is outside of the jurisdiction and expertise” of DIR and DTSC.

CAPHCC opposed AB 155 (Alejo) – a first ever State-mandated PLA. It authorizes Monterey County Water Resources Agency to award a design-build contract but requires the agency to execute a PLA. Governor Brown signed the bill.

CAPHCC supported AB 1260 (Medina) that would have defined a California family owned business for purposes of any provision of the Government Code that explicitly references this definition. While the bill passed the Senate 34-0 and the Assembly 74-0, Brown vetoed the bill.

CAPHCC and most of the business community opposed AB 1522 (Gonzalez) that mandates California employers (except unionized employers) provide paid sick leave to all employees. The Senate voted 22-8, the Assembly voted 52-25, and Brown agreed and signed the bill.

Also disappointing was Browns signing of AB 1870 (Alejo) Oppose. 1870 reduces CAPHCC’s ability to obtaining training contributions from the California Apprenticeship Council.

Big News from the NLRB last year

On December 15, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its controversial new rule expediting union representation elections. Business and trade organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, National Retail Federation, and Society for Human Resource Management filed a complaint on January 5, 2015, challenging the new rule.

The complaint alleges that the rule violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and the Administrative Procedures Act, and seeks to invalidate the final rule on the ground that it denies employers due process in NLRB proceedings over elections, including preventing employers from litigating fundamental issues such as who is eligible to vote and who will be covered by the bargaining unit prior to the election, and then eliminating the ability of employers to seek NLRB review as a matter of right after the election has been held.

In a previous decision, the NLRB overturned the Register Guard decision, which controlled the use of a business email system for union purposes, replacing a stable, clear, and workable rule supported by the law with an unworkable standard that will only create more conflict. You can read Steve McCutcheon’s piece here.

Important New Posting Requirement

California’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has published a poster and wage notice for employers to use in compliance with AB 1522, California’s new mandatory sick pay law.

On September 10, 2014, Governor Jerry Brown signed the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014. The Act requires California employers to provide employees with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked starting on July 1, 2015. The Act also required the DLSE to create a poster and updated wage notice for employees.

In compliance with the Act, the DLSE has also published a paid sick leave poster. The poster includes basic information regarding employee sick pay rights.

The poster states that employees who work in California for 30 or more days after July 1, 2015 are entitled to paid sick leave. Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, 2015, whichever is later. The poster also summarizes the Act’s accrual and use rules and invites employees to file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner if they believe that they have been a victim of retaliation or discrimination.

The new poster can also be found on the Department of Industrial Relations website.

According to the DLSE website, employers must use the new section 2810.5 notice and the paid sick leave poster beginning January 1, 2015. Employers need not distribute the amended section 2810.5 notice to all existing employees. Rather, the new form should be provided to new hires and to existing employees within seven days of a change of terms not disclosed on a pay stub.

The agency’s action is apt to cause confusion for employees who receive the notice or view the poster during the first half of 2015, given that the sick pay accrual and use rights do not become effective until July 1, 2015. The poster does inform careful readers that the paid sick leave rights begin accruing in July. The section 2810.5 notice, on the other hand, does not provide any information as to the effective date of the rights.

Election Results

The big California news is that the Democrats lost their super majority in both houses but voters left all statewide offices in Democrat hands.

In congress, Republicans took back control of the Senate by adding seven seats to their ranks, riding a wave of discontent with and resentment toward President Obama and his policies and consolidating Republican power on Capitol Hill. The Republicans picked up an eighth Senate seat in Louisiana in December. In the House, Republicans picked up 14 seats and now have the largest margin since the Hoover administration.