The New Year Brings New Laws Affecting California Workers
California's Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) was established to improve working conditions for the state's workers and to develop opportunities for profitable employment. Each year, the DIR releases a summary of new laws that impact workers as well as employers. The following new laws took effect on January 1, 2017.
Medical Care and Fraud Prevention ConcernsAssembly Bill 1244 requires the Division of Workers' Compensation to suspend any medical provider, doctor or practitioner convicted of fraud from participating in the Workers' Compensation system.
Senate Bill 1160 expedites treatment for injured workers in the acute stage of a claim. In addition, it mandates electronic reporting of utilization review data by claims administrators and employs measures designed in combat fraud and increase transparency in the system.
Worker Health and Safety
Janitorial workers gain protection because Assembly Bill 1978 requires that employers be registered, beginning on July 1, 2018. In addition, every two years the labor commissioner must conduct in-personal sexual violence and harassment prevention training.
Due to Senate Bill 1167, California's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) must propose a new standard by January 1, 2019 that minimizes heat-related illness and injuries for those working indoors.
Wage and Hour Issues
Senate Bill 3 increases California's minimum wage annually (beginning on January 1, 2017) until it reaches $15 an hour on January 1, 2020. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an additional year to comply. In addition, beginning on July 1, 2018, in-home supportive services workers are entitled to paid sick days.
Because of Assembly Bill 1066, California farmworkers will earn overtime pay, using the same standard as other workers: after an eight-hour day or a 40-hour week.
Senate Bill 1015 extends the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights indefinitely, specifying that these workers earn overtime pay for working more than nine hours in one workday or more than 45 hours in any workweek.