Posts

GOVERNOR BROWN SIGNS 15 NEW LAWS, 5 WITH PREVAILING WAGE REQUIREMENTS

This past week, Governor Brown signed 15 housing bills into law.  5 of them include a prevailing wage component that goes into effect January 1, 2018.

California has a definite housing problem.  Right now there is a need for 180,000 homes and only 88,000 homes are being built in an average year.

Existing law already requires that prevailing wage be paid to workers on State financed project (ever wonder why it costs so much for the State to do anything?).  This new legislation reaches over into the private sector to tell them how much they must pay everyone and extends the influence of Unions into non-union work-places.

Prevailing wages have been around since the 1930’s and were used to kick-start the economy with projects such as the Hoover Dam.  As an example, if you are a bricklayer in Sacramento, the prevailing wage is $70 per hour.  In San Francisco, that may be $90.  And, of course, there is the story of the person who was paid $46 per hour to vacuum at a construction site because that is the prevailing wage for clean-up work.  The Janitorial description would have been much less at around $12 per hour.

An analysis of the cost of prevailing wage on the average home in California reveals the following:

  1. Almost all employees will be paid a much higher wage.  The range is an increase of 39% for electricians to 116% for construction labor.
  2. The overall increase in labor cost for residential construction would be 89%
  3. Labor accounts for about 41% of the cost of an average home, so this would mean an increase in the total construction cost of 37%
  4. Put into monetary terms, if the average cost of home construction is $88 per square foot, the 37% increase would add another $32 per square foot for a total cost increase on the average home of $84,000!

Proponents of the bills say the cost will be mitigated by the fact you are hiring professionals who will work faster, more efficiently, with less errors in the construction process.  However, they have no significant evidence to back up this assumption.  Rather, I refer you to the Bay Bridge retrofit project in San Francisco built by Union workers and under prevailing wages that is crumbling and needs millions of dollars to be fixed.  I also refer you to our present high-speed rail project with it’s original cost going from $9 billion to $65 billion (or more) as costs continue to rise.  These projects do not support the idea that if you pay a person more, they will save you money.

So far, these bills only apply to projects that take advantage of certain State fast-track waivers for environmental reviews and permitting process.  However, based on past history, the next round of legislation may be to impose prevailing wage on all “trades” work.  And, it may reach over to regular private work that is not regulated by State laws.  It could move next to any work permitted by the county, city or municipality.  The cement slab you want for a patio may double in cost.

This is a long, slippery slope that has no factual standing.  At the end of the day, there may be no increase in building homes because the cost savings of fast-tracked government regulations may not off-set the increase labor costs.  In fact, it may not even off-set the increased worker’s compensation insurance costs associated with the significant increase in wages.  If labor costs increase 87%, then worker’s comp costs will almost double for the contractors.  Also, there is an a large increase in payroll taxes associated with the increased payroll.  The State likes that.

So, what we have here is another example of legislation written to make the Politicians look like they are doing something, and appeasing their select groups (unions).  But, there is very little evidence it will actually improve the housing problem in California and even less chance that those homes will reduce the cost of housing.  We will have to wait and see what comes next.

ALL CALIF. EMPLOYERS BE READY FOR NEW PROP. 65 REQUIREMENTS IN 2018

California has been dealing with Prop. 65 (notice of possible Cancer causing items in use).  Well, recently we were hoping that this bill, which has been a boon to California lawyers, would be pruned and made more practical.  Instead, they have made it much tougher for almost every employer in California beginning in 2018.  There are over 800 chemicals on the present list.  Here is the list:  https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/proposition-65-list .   Beginning in 2018, the old sign stating that “chemicals known to cause cancer” that  you see everywhere from every restaurant and hospital to gas stations to ball parks, will now require a sign that lists all chemicals in use at any facility.  That means barber shops to dairy farms will need to have this list posted in plain view for all people entering the property.

On its face this is absurd.  This is another example of politicians trying to show people how they are protecting us, when the reality is that no one pays attention or reads it.  As proof, how many people really read the required postings by every employer near their time clock or break room?  It is another venue for lawyers to file lawsuits against employers while not protecting anyone.

You can read a very good article regarding this story from  Joseph Perrone in the Fresno Bee.   Here is the link: https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article114970193.html

While we have time, the recent elections do not give us much hope that any sanity will return to the California State Legislature.  However, with people starting to campaign for the Governor position in 2  years, I would suggest that anytime you are confronted by any of these aspiring politicians, you ask them their stance on this issue and why.  It may provide some attention and action to make this proposition more practical.

 

Don’t Touch That Cellphone!!

Californians!  Because our state government feels it must protect everything you do, the governor has signed AB 1785 written by (and you are going to love the name…) Assemblyman Bill Quirk.  It is known as the “Distracted Driving” update.  Originally passed a few years back, the old law said you should not text while driving and it attached a fine if you are caught.  This makes sense, because we have all driven behind some numbskull who is not paying attention to the traffic and playing with their phone.

So, now we have an update to that law and you should bring this to the attention of every employee you have that uses a company vehicle or drives on company business.  Basically, the new law says that if you touch your phone or other electrical device FOR ANY REASON while driving, it is a violation and subject to a ticket and fine.  Specifically, you can mount a phone or GPS device on the windshield and you are allowed to do a “one-swipe” gesture which allows for the use of GPS but does not allow texting or other items.

These changes were proposed to meet the 2014 appeals court decision to move the emphasis from the action (calling or texting) to the devices.

We are not posting this to cause a discussion on whether a change like this will eliminate accidents, but we feel a technological change would be better.  They  have software that can disable cellphone use while driving, but refuse to implement it.  So, please inform your employees so that they and you are not subject to fines or tickets.

Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco are working on new labor laws that may affect you

Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco are working on new labor laws that may affect you

According to an article from the AP, many employers will be subject to severe new rules regarding scheduling and once it gets a foothold, you can bet this will be going Nationwide and into other industries.  This is the next step in Socializing all employment.  Please note at the bottom that those with collective bargaining agreements (unions) are exempt.  I can’t imagine how an employer will comply with this law.  If an employee calls in sick or quits, the employer will face fines if they ask another employee to come in and work their shift, so they are forced to work the next 2 weeks short-handed or pay penalties.  – Jeff

By PHUONG LE

Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) –Seattle leaders have proposed new rules for retail and food-service businesses with hourly employees, including requiring them to schedule shifts two weeks in advance and compensate workers for some last-minute changes – the latest push by a city that has led the nation in mandating worker benefits.

Seattle was among the first to phase in a $15 hourly minimum wage, mandate sick leave for many companies and offer paid parental leave for city workers.

Now, the mayor, city officials and labor-backed groups are targeting erratic schedules and fluctuating hours they say make it difficult for people to juggle child care, school or other jobs, to count on stable income or to plan for the future.

Seattle’s “secure scheduling” proposal also would require retail and fast-food companies with 500 employees globally to compensate workers with “predictability pay” when they’re scheduled but don’t get called into work or are sent home early; provide a minimum 10 hours rest between open and closing shifts; and offer hours to existing employees before hiring new staff.

“Creating equity in Seattle means providing workers with access to a reliable schedule that meets their life and financial needs, while balancing the daily realities facing large employers,” Mayor Ed Murray said earlier this month.

In 2014, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to pass similar legislation. A District of Columbia bill requiring 14-day scheduling notice advanced out of a council committee in June but has yet to be taken up by the full council. A November ballot measure before San Jose, California, voters would require businesses to offer additional hours to existing part-time employees before hiring new staff.

The Washington Retail Association and other businesses have criticized the Seattle proposal, saying many employers already provide advance scheduling notice. They say the measure is too restrictive and will create more problems for workers.

“It will wipe out the scheduling flexibility that benefits both employ yees and employers,” said Jan Teague, association president. If store managers can’t add to labor costs to cover the predictability pay, they’ll operate with fewer employees or fewer hours when someone can’t make it into work, she said.

Others say they want to see changes to some provisions, such as ensuring employers aren’t penalized for offering shifts directly to workers who want them.

Across the country, companies have faced increasing pressure to make schedules more predictable. Last month, Wal-Mart launched a new scheduling system to give thousands of hourly employees more certainty about their hours.

The sponsors of Seattle’s ordinance say it’s as much about closing the city’s income gap as giving entry-level workers, many of whom are women and minorities, more control over schedules. Median household income, housing prices and rents have soared in booming Seattle as the city has grown to about 687,000 and added about 50,000 tech and other jobs in five years.

“We want this to be a city where our workforce, the people who are keeping this place running, can afford to live here,” said Councilwoman Lisa Herbold, a bill sponsor. “When people have more secure hours, they can do things that make the city more affordable, such as holding down a second job or going to school so they can get a better job.”

Crystal Thompson, who works at Domino’s Pizza, often scrambles to find child care when she gets her schedule one day before the work week begins. The short notice makes it difficult to plan her life.

“This will be good for a lot of people,” she said.

Oliver Savage, 22, a Starbucks barista, said he has asked to work 30 hours but currently gets 20. For a period this summer, a previous store manager scheduled him for only eight hours, reducing his one source of income. He said the store hired a new barista during that time, so he supports the provision requiring current workers be offered hours before additional staff is hired.

Jennifer England, who owns a Subway franchise, said she works with her three employees to accommodate their scheduling needs. She said she won’t be able to pay extra for last-minute shift changes if a worker wants time off or calls in sick.

“They’re making it harder for us to schedule and if anything comes up, we’re going to be penalized and we can’t afford that,” England said.

The bill exempts companies whose employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement with similar scheduling provisions.

CALIFORNIA DEFEATS OVERTIME BILL FOR AGRICULTURE AGAIN…..BUT…..

On Friday, there was a heated debate in Sacramento regarding a bill that would remove the exemptions for agriculture workers and bring them into the 8 hour day and 40 hour workweek.

First, a little history:

The Federal Government exempted agriculture workers back in the 1940’s from the FLSA and left the regulation of overtime to the States if they wanted to improve on this standard.  NO OTHER STATE DID…..EXCEPT CALIFORNIA.  In 1976 Jerry Brown (the first time as Governor), signed bills that established the 10 hour day and 60 hour work-week.  This was included in the Wage Orders that were established about 2001, specifically, Wage Order 14 with some agriculture work being moved to the 8/40 schedule with wage orders 8 and 13.

In 2010 and again in 2011, they tried to change the rules to 8/40 but it was defeated again with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stating:

“Unfortunately, this measure, while well-intended, will not
improve the lives of California’s agricultural workers and
instead will result in additional burdens on California
businesses, increased unemployment, and lower wages.  In order
to remain competitive against other states that do not have such
wage requirements, businesses will simply avoid paying overtime.
Instead of working 10-hour days, multiple crews will be hired
to work shorter shifts, resulting in lower take home pay for all
workers.  Businesses trying to compete under the new wage rules
may become unprofitable and go out of business, resulting in
further damage to our already fragile economy.”

So again on Friday, we had the arguments for and against.  3  pro-8/40 Assembly members felt it was important to quote Bible Scripture.  While interesting, this is not really the argument.  There were supporters from the usual groups, UFW, Labor leaders on one side and Agriculture employers on the other.  What was missing was those who really represent the interests of the employee.

Right now, a dairy worker generally works 60 hours a week, 10 hours a day.  If you pass this law, that employee will be working 40 hours a week, or 8 hours per day (5 days a week).  Since employers will not want to pay overtime, they will do one of 3 things.  They will change from two 10-hour shifts a day, to 3 8-hour shifts per day.  Or, they will reduce the size of their herds so they can be handled in 8 hours and this will further reduce the number of employees needed.  Finally, they can just close up and go to one of the other 49 states that want to work with agricultural employers.

When you reduce the worker’s income by 20 hours per week, you are not doing them a favor.  In fact, you may be creating a much worse situation.  In order to make up for the lost income (can you afford to lose $200 + per week in your pay?) the employee will have to look for a second income.  This means working at another dairy 2 days a week or working a second shift at another dairy.  This increases the likelihood of injuries due to being over tired, less time with family and most likely they will not have a day off at all.  Right now they get one or two days off a week, but if they have a second job, that will most likely go away.  YOU ARE NOT HELPING A PERSON WHEN YOU REDUCE THEIR HOURS, INCOME AND DAYS OFF.

Though well intentioned, this shows a real lack of understanding of the actual on the ground situation.  Typical of State Legislators, they sit in their Sacramento office and listen to advocates instead of getting their shoes dirty and talking to the actual people involved.  I would extend an invitation to any State Legislator to come and spend a day in our office to see the impact of some of their legislations.  I can guarantee there are at least 10 things that they do not know exist or the impact it has on employers and employees, and the environment.

Meanwhile, contact your representatives directly, not through an organization, and point out to them the tremendous loss to employees if this legislation goes through.  They won’t listen to your problems, but they may listen if you are discussing your employee’s concerns.

US Dept of Labor Issuing new Rules for Salary Exemptions

Below is a release from the US Department of Labor.   Many states take their labor rules directly from the US  DOL but many others have their own rules under which employees are eligible for overtime pay.  For instance in California, a salaried person must be paid twice the minimum wage and be in a largely administrative position not doing the same work as the hourly employees.  They must exercise independent thought and actions and this is a pretty high standard to be exempt from overtime requirements.  Further, if you have salaried people, you better have a written agreement of what the salary covers as far as expected hours of work each day\week and if there is any overtime figured into the salary.  Otherwise, it is not considered as covering overtime due.  Check with your own state for their rules on overtime, but here is the statement from the US Department of Labor:

 Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Overtime

President Obama signing the memorandumToday the Department of Labor has announced a proposed rule that would extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million white collar workers within the first year of its implementation. Failure to update the overtime regulations has left an exception to overtime eligibility originally meant for highly-compensated executive, administrative, and professional employees now applying to workers earning as little as $23,660 a year. For example, a convenience store manager, fast food assistant manager, or some office workers may be expected to work 50 or 60 hours a week or more, making less than the poverty level for a family of four, and not receive a dime of overtime pay. Today’s proposed regulation is a critical first step toward ensuring that hard-working Americans are compensated fairly and have a chance to get ahead.

On March 13, 2014, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department to update the regulations defining which white collar workers are protected by the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime standards. Consistent with the President’s goal of ensuring workers are paid a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, the memorandum instructed the Department to look for ways to modernize and simplify the regulations while ensuring that the FLSA’s intended overtime protections are fully implemented.

Following issuance of the memorandum, the Department embarked on an extensive outreach program, conducting listening sessions in Washington, DC, and several other locations, as well as by conference call. The listening sessions were attended by a wide range of stakeholders: employees, employers, business associations, non-profit organizations, employee advocates, unions, state and local government representatives, tribal representatives, and small businesses. In these sessions the Department asked stakeholders to address, among other issues: (1) What is the appropriate salary level for exemption; (2) what, if any, changes should be made to the duties tests; and (3) how the regulations could be simplified. The Department’s extensive outreach helped in shaping a proposed rule that is intended to be responsive to concerns raised by the regulated community.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published on July 6, 2015, in the Federal Register (80 FR 38515) and invited interested parties to submit written comments on the proposed rule at www.regulations.gov by September 4, 2015. Only comments received during the comment period identified in the Federal Register published version of the NPRM will be considered part of the rulemaking record.

Written comments received during the comment period will be helpful in shaping any final rule. Based on past experience and extensive work with the regulated community on other FLSA-related matters, we believe a 60-day comment period provides sufficient time for interested parties to submit substantial comment. Equally important, a comment period of this length, coupled with the feedback already received during the initial outreach sessions, will meet the goal described above of ensuring the Department has the level of insight from the public needed to produce a quality regulation. For these reasons we will not be extending the comment period.

Additional Information

 

   

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY, IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, NO…IT’S A DRONE!!

By now, I am sure that most of you have heard about the efforts to photograph activity on dairies and other companies by use of drones.  Unfortunately, again, our State and Federal leaders have left us unprotected and with little in the way of resources to combat these intrusions into our businesses.

To begin, you may own your land, but you may not own the sky above it.  Interestingly, the government still holds many of you accountable for the air above your property when it contains methane or other substances, but not if it is polluted with aircraft overhead.  If your neighbor has a tree that hangs over your fence and you want to trim it back, you can.  But you can’t stop a jet from flying over at 30,000 feet.  So where is the actual cut off?

“There is gray area in terms of how far your property rights extend,” said Jeramie Scott, national security counsel

at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “It’s going to need to be addressed sooner rather than later as

drones are integrated into the national airspace.”

The issue is becoming more urgent as drones are crowding America’s skies: The Consumer Technology Association

estimated 700,000 were sold last year.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, every inch above the tip of your grass blades is the government’s

jurisdiction. “The FAA is responsible for the safety and management of U.S. airspace from the ground up,” said an

agency spokesman, echoing rules laid out on its website.

But common law long held that landowners’ rights went “all the way to Heaven.” And today, it’s clear that they have

some rights.

California’s Governor vetoed all of the bills that came before him at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.  Most probably needed to be reworked.  So, there are about 6 bills working their way through the system again.  However, we really need to turn to the FAA to get guidance, and so far, the only real answers they have is that drones need to be registered with the FAA.  The FAA refers to drones as UAVs or Unmanned Arial Vehicle Systems.

So what do we do while we wait for the government to catch up with an issue that started a couple of years ago?

This is from the AgWeb website:

The FAA administers the air space from the ground surface (soil, grass, top of building) upward. If it finds there is a problem, it can rule that the UAV was in violation due to careless and reckless operation and issue a fine or other penalty. Well-equipped UAV systems with cameras and sensors can cost from $7,500 to $40,000 or more, creating a substantial loss if destroyed.

Woldt says concerns often are based on a need for safety and potential infringements of property and privacy. The former is addressed by federal aviation regulations, while property and privacy concerns are addressed by civil and perhaps even criminal law. Someone can fly a UAV equipped with a camera over a neighbor’s backyard and be adhering to aviation law, but infringing on someone’s personal privacy. It gets back to one’s expectation of privacy in different settings, Woldt said.  If a person feels that their privacy has been infringed upon, then the same recommendation applies — contact appropriate authorities with as much information about the UAV as can be obtained, without confrontation.

Landowners can take steps to create a no-fly zone over their property by documenting their preferences at https://www.noflyzone.org/. The No Fly Zone organization works with manufacturers and UAV software developers. While it cannot guarantee that individual no-fly zones will be respected, it will provide the information to leading manufacturers, who can incorporate these areas into their software.

Proposed Changes to UAV Regulations

Earlier this month the FAA released a set of proposed regulations to more fully integrate UAS into the National Air Space. When approved, these regulations would open the door to much wider UAS use, including for a breadth of possible agricultural applications.  For more information on the proposed FAA regulations, and to provide comments to the FAA on the regulations, see:

As you can see, this is a very murky situation with a lot of what you can’t do and very little on what you can do.  You can confront the person if you find them, but you cannot threaten or use physical force.  You can contact the Sherriff’s department and claim that they are disturbing your animals (if indeed they are doing so).  Chasing animals with drones could be considered animal abuse in some situations, but in all cases, consult your attorney or law enforcement, do not take action into your own hands.  Remember, in the long run, you don’t want to lose the public opinion on an issue while the legislature is trying to provide solutions or you could end up on the bad side of that solution.

Contact your Assembly and Senate members and let them know your position.  Attend meetings, get organized and most of all, communicate to everyone you know when you see drone activity in your area.  Together we can work to stop this.

Starting July 1, 2015, Obamacare will punish businesses who help employees with health care

Blog writer’s note: The following is an article Posted By Eric Boehm On July 1, 2015 @ 4:00 am at Watchdog.org.  More information can be obtained at the end of this article. While this article may affect some of our readers, we caution you not to overreact to its contents. Instead, we suggest you contact your tax professional or accountant to inquire about your possible exposure to this issue.

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org

Employers who reimburse their workers for health care costs will face massive tax penalties beginning Wednesday.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with its mandate that all Americans purchase insurance and requirement for businesses to offer employees insurance plans, many small companies provided coverage by directly reimbursing medical costs or for the cost of private insurance plans. Businesses do it because that’s a less complicated process than dealing with an official health insurance plan, but continuing to do so after July 1 could cost them hundreds of dollars in fines each day.

IF YOU LIKE YOUR INSURANCE…: Businesses that offer reimbursement for health care costs could face massive IRS penalties beginning on Wednesday. Business groups say many small businesses might be unaware of the risk.

Business groups are calling attention to what they say is an obscure part of Obamacare that could crush small businesses who are unaware of it.

“It’s the biggest penalty that no one is talking about,” said Kevin Kuhlman, policy director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, on Tuesday.

The penalties will only affect businesses with less than 50 employees. Those with more than 50 employees are already required to offer a health insurance plan.

The new rule is the result of an Internal Revenue Service interpretation of part of the ACA. It seems intended to force employers to offer a group health insurance plan (or leave their employees to fend for themselves on the health insurance exchanges).

The IRS says those reimbursements — technically known as “employer payment plans” [2] — are “considered to be group health plans subject to the market reforms, including the prohibition on annual limits for essential health benefits and the requirement to provide certain preventive care without cost sharing.”

The end result?

“Such an arrangement fails to satisfy the market reforms and may be subject to a $100/day excise tax per applicable employee (which is $36,500 per year, per employee) under section 4980D of the Internal Revenue Code [3],” according to the taxmen.

Business groups say the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

Even though the total fine is capped at $500,000 per year, that’s still miles ahead of the $2,000 fine that could be waiting for larger companies (those with more than 50 employees) that fail to comply with the individual mandate part of the ACA.

The NFIB says 14 percent of their members do not provide health insurance plans, but instead offer reimbursement.

The owner of a Minnesota-based company with 17 employees told NFIB [4] the new rules would require health benefits to go through the payroll process. That means it is subject to taxes, which reduces employees’ benefits and increases the business’ costs.

“Reimbursing employees for the cost of insurance or medical services is a way for small businesses to help their workers without the administrative headache of setting up a costly group plan,” said Kuhlman. “Most small employers don’t have HR departments or benefits specialists, so this is a simpler, easier way to help their employees.”

The prohibition on employer reimbursement was supposed to start last year, but the IRS postponed implementing it until July 1.

There has been bipartisan support [5] in Congress [6] for eliminating the harsh penalty on small businesses, but bills have not advanced.

“This would be devastating to small businesses and impose hardships on their employees,” said U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in January, referring to the potential $100-per-employee-per-day fine. “Congress has to fix this problem. [7]”

Note from HR Mobile Services, Inc.

Article printed from Watchdog.org: https://watchdog.org  If you would like more information about this organization or about the author or article, please visit their website .

 

URL to article: https://watchdog.org/226796/obamacare-punishes-small-businesses/

Attention ALL States: California is at it Again – Double Holiday Pay!!!!!

Hot on the heals of establishing a mandatory 3 days of sick pay for all employees in the state, California is now considering Double Pay for certain holidays.  Please read the analysis below from the California Chamber of Commerce Alert Bulletin regarding this legislation (more commentary at the end):

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Assembly Committee Passes Double Holiday Pay Bill

March 20, 2015 Jennifer Barrera

The Assembly Labor and Employment Committee this week approved a California Chamber of Commerce-opposed bill requiring double pay for work on certain days.

During testimony to the committee on AB 67 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) CalChamber Policy Advocate Jennifer Barrera explained that the bill increases costs, creates a competitive disadvantage, and potentially violates employers’ constitutional rights by forcing employers to recognize certain days as “family holidays” and compensate all employees with double pay for work performed on those days.

Violates Religious Freedom

AB 67 provides that employers shall compensate an employee at no less than twice the employee’s regular rate of pay on a “family holiday,” defined as “December 25 of each year” and “the fourth Thursday of November of each year,” commonly referred to as Christmas and Thanksgiving.

While the recognition of these holidays may seem benign to some persons, employers who have non-Christian-based beliefs or are immigrants to America might not see the recognition the same way. The Legislature should not mandate certain days as more significant based upon religious or cultural beliefs that are not maintained by all.

Further questions about the First Amendment implications of AB 67 were raised during the hearing and directed at Barrera, but she was stopped from answering them by the committee chair, who cited procedural precedent issues.

Unavoidable Increase in Costs

Although some employers may close their place of business on a “family holiday” to accommodate their employees, others do not realistically have that option for their business models.

Competitive Disadvantage

AB 67 would also unilaterally increase the cost of doing business only for those employers who have a physical presence in California, thereby automatically placing them at a competitive disadvantage with online companies and out-of-state businesses that would not be subject to this cost.

Recently, the Legislature tried to even the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores in the sales-tax arena. AB 67 would further distort this playing field by increasing the cost of doing business for local employers, as opposed to online retailers, who would not have to comply.

Regular Rate of Pay/PAGA Enforcement

Determining the regular rate of pay of many employees requires a detailed calculation that goes beyond just an employee’s hourly pay. As defined by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the “regular rate of pay includes a number of different kinds of remuneration, for example hourly earnings, salary, piecework earnings, commissions, certain bonuses, and the value of meals and lodging.” While this calculation is performed for overtime purposes, it is subject to good faith errors as to what types of “remuneration” should be included in the calculation.

Due to being included in Section 511.5 of the Labor Code, the provisions of AB 67 are subject to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) (Labor Code Section 2699 et seq.). Therefore, errors in calculating the regular rate of pay or failures to comply with other provisions of this mandate would add another threat of litigation against California employers.

Key Vote

AB 67 passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee 5-2.

 

Ayes: Chu (D-San Jose), Hernández (D-West Covina), Low (D-Campbell), McCarty (D-Sacramento), Thurmond (D-Richmond.

 

Noes: Harper (R-Huntington Beach), Patterson (R-Fresno).

 

The bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee; no hearing date has been set.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This bill puts a direct strain on any employer who works with living beings, animal or human.  Zoos, dairies, pet stores, aviaries, animal conservatories, laboratories and research facilities, all would fall under this.  Not mentioned are the thousands of employees who work with the elderly and infirmed.  Now, many places fully staff on the holidays so that people who may not have family or a place to celebrate a holiday, have a great day.  Now they will cut back to a bare minimum of workers and hours and this will also reduce the enjoyment of holidays for those people.

This is a well intentioned bill but not a well thought out bill.  Notice that Sick Pay, Paid leave, and now Holiday pay do not affect the State employees because they can just close on those days or they already have a better package of specialties, or, what the heck, it is just tax payer money so there are no real consequences to State agencies.   Hmmmm……..

One positive, there is almost no reason to join a union any more.  They are already in the California Legislature.

We ask that you contact your representatives and express your opinion about this legislation. 

 

To Do the Right Thing

Life has a way of presenting moral and ethical challenges to us at the most interesting times in our lives.  The other day, I was in the parking lot of a restaurant when I saw a wallet on the ground.  I picked it up and I opened it to see if there was some ID inside.  The first thing I saw was a wad of $100 bills!!  There was well over $1,000 in there.  I shut it quickly and went inside the restaurant to turn it over to the management.

Now, understand, I am not telling this story because I want a reward or accolades, but to point out something we should all think about. Most of us would pause for a moment and contemplate keeping the money, including myself for less than a second.  Then I thought about the person.  Who would carry that kind of cash?  Most likely, a person who could ill-afford to lose it.  It may be their rent money or money to purchase a much needed car or whatever.  The point is, it wasn’t my money;  I did nothing to earn it.

And that is my real point.  So many people today feel they deserve payment just because they exist, not because they have truly  earned the money.  Our forefathers understood the value of earning what you had and keeping it for the next generation to build on.  When our society is ruled by people who feel they must be given “what is theirs” we have failed.  When we elect leaders based on what they will give us rather than how they will encourage us to be our best and ensure there is a reward at the end of the day for that effort, then we have failed.

Let’s hope we never get to that point.