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California Employers Blog

The “future of work” is the topic du jour these days for pundits, academics, policy makers, employers and unions alike. Numerous conferences, white papers, academic studies, and media investigations have all explored this subject in recent years – the U.S. Department of Labor even held a symposium in 2016 on “the future of work.” Whether these concerns - what all of this technological advancement means for employment - are hype or reality remains to be seen. It appears certain that rapid technological advancements are transforming the workplace and the economy in innumerable ways. The “gig economy” has demonstrated that in dramatic fashion. What remains less clear is what the long-term implications of all of this change will mean. Will we all be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence? Or will the economy and the nature of work adjust to reflect new and different opportunities in the future?

As we discussed in our last blog post, California employers received some rare good news in recent days. Bills to expand California’s paid sick leave requirement and to require employers to accommodate medical marijuana use both failed to advance and are dead for the year.

It’s not often that we get to report good news on this blog.  But last week, two significant bills that would have imposed new requirements on California employers failed to advance past the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

As we previously discussed in this blog, last year Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to prevent employers from asking about salary history information. That legislation, Assembly Bill 168 (Eggman), went into effect on January 1, 2018 and prohibited public and private employers from seeking or relying upon the salary history of applicants for employment.

One of the more popular public policy issues of late has been an employer’s obligation to accommodate employees who are lactating or expressing breast milk.  The federal government, states, and local jurisdictions have been increasingly active on this front in recent years. 

As we have previously discussed, one of the hottest gig economy issues to dominate political and public policy debate has been “portable” benefits – the concept that gig economy workers should have flexible, portable benefits that they can take with them from job to job. States and local governments are increasingly moving forward on their own with proposals to explore the provision of benefits to individual performing work in the gig economy. Most notable are proposals that have been set forth in the state legislatures in WashingtonNew York and New Jersey. The movement also got a boost in January when Uber and SEIU announced a joint call for the state of Washington to develop a portable benefits system that would cover gig economy workers.

As we reported in January, after nearly six years of discussion and debate, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board (Board) approved a standard on “Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention.”  The final regulation was recently approved by the Office of Administrative Law and will be effective July 1, 2018.

The ever-escalating dispute between the Trump Administration and the State of California over immigration policy is starting to resemble a Shakespearean drama.

Recently, the California Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) proposed new draft regulations to implement provisions of two key employment statutes enacted last year.

February 16 was the deadline to introduce new bills in the California Legislature.  By that date, nearly 2,200 bills were introduced.  While that may seem like a staggering amount of legislative proposals (especially for a legislative body with only 120 members), this number is consistent with the volume of bills that have been introduced in recent years.

We’ll be tracking this legislation all year and updating you on key developments. 

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