California’s 2021 legislative session has ended, and with it came a number of new wage and hour laws going into effect on January 1, 2022. Each of these latest Assembly Bills (“AB”) and Senate Bills (“SB”) impact employers in various industries. California employers should review and plan to implement whatever changes apply to their businesses by the beginning of the coming new year.
AB 286: AB 286 amends the California Fair Food Delivery Act of 2020 with respect to purchase prices and tips on food ordered online. This new law makes it illegal for a food delivery platform (such as UBER Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates or otherwise) to charge customers a price higher than the price posted by the food facility on the food delivery platform’s website at the time of the order. It also prohibits a food delivery platform from retaining any portion of amounts designated by the customer as a tip or gratuity. AB 286 requires that for orders being delivered, the entire tip or gratuity must be paid to the person delivering, and for orders being picked up, the entire tip or gratuity must be paid to the food facility.
AB 701: AB 701 applies to warehouse distribution centers, requiring them disclose to all non-exempt employees – at the time of hiring or within 30 days of the January 1, 2022 effective date – all work quotas to which the non-exempt employees are subject. This includes number of tasks to be performed or materials to be produced or handled within a certain time period, as well as any possible adverse employment action that could be taken if the employee fails to meet the quota. This new law also mandates that no quota can require an employee to miss a meal or rest period, prohibit use of the bathroom, or require violation of any occupational health and safety laws. If the employee believes the quota violates their right to a meal or rest period or otherwise violates occupational health and safety laws, employees are entitled to request their personal work speed data – and for violations, they can bring action for injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees and costs, if they prevail. The Labor Commissioner, in conjunction with the Department of Industrial Relations, is charged with authority to enforce this new law.
AB 1003: AB 1003 makes clear that intentional wage theft is punishable as grand theft. If an employer intentionally takes an employee’s wages, gratuities, benefits, or other compensation in an amount greater than $950 from any one employee (or $2,350 total from two or more employees) in any consecutive 12-month period, the employer may be charged with grand theft. This new law explicitly includes within the definition of “employee” those workers who are designated as independent contractors, and it includes within the definition of “employer” all hiring entities who hire independent contractors.
SB 62: SB 62 applies to payment of employees in the garment manufacturing industry. Unless the employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the garment manufacturer or brand guarantor cannot pay employees by the piece or unit or by piece rate. If an employee is paid by piece rate in violation of this new law, the employee is entitled to compensatory damages of $200 per employee per pay period, payable to the employee. Additionally, SB 62 requires employers to keep for four (4) years all contracts, invoices, purchase orders, work orders, style or cut sheets, and any other documentation pursuant to which the garment manufacturing work was or is being performed.
SB 572: SB 572 grants the Labor Commissioner the authority to record a lien on real property as an alternative to a judgment lien. The intention behind this new law is to secure all amounts due to the Labor Commissioner under any final citation, findings, or decision.
SB 639: Currently, California law allows employees who are mentally and/or physically disabled to obtain a special license from the Industrial Welfare Commission authorizing payment to the disabled employee of less than the legal minimum wage. SB 639 lays the groundwork to phase out this existing law, requiring the State Council on Developmental Disabilities to develop and implement a phaseout plan of paying disabled employees less than the state minimum wage.
SB 646: SB 646 creates a specific exemption from California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) for janitorial workers who are represented by a labor organization. PAGA authorizes an aggrieved employee to stand in the shoes of the state and bring a civil action to recover specified civil penalties that would otherwise be assessed and collected by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency on behalf of the employee (and any other current and former aggrieved employees) for violations of California’s Labor Code. This PAGA exemption for janitorial employees expires on the earlier of either (a) the date when the applicable collective bargaining agreement expires, or (b) July 1, 2028.
If you have any questions about any of these new laws, feel free to reach out to the Workplace Legal APLC team, and we can help to ensure that you are in full compliance with them.