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California Adds Over 30 New Labor Laws

“More than 30 state employment laws take effect this year, according to an annual list put out by the California Chamber of Commerce.

The most significant by far is the paid sick leave law, which has received a lot of publicity here and elsewhere. AB1522 requires employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who worked in California for 30 or more days within a year of hire. The accrual rate is at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked.

Employers can limit an employee’s use of paid sick leave to 24 hours or three days in each year of employment and can stop employees from accumulating more paid leave when they have 48 hours (six days) in their sick-leave bank. There is no exemption for small employers.

Accrual begins on the first day of employment or July 1, whichever is later, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations website (see its FAQ at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/Paid_Sick_Leave.htm).

Here are some of the other 2015 laws that employment lawyers think will have the biggest impact. For the full list, see http://bit.ly/1BV9uQc. These laws took effect Jan. 1:

•AB1660 makes it illegal under the state Fair Employment and Housing Act to discriminate against workers because they have a driver’s license issued to undocumented persons who can submit proof of identity and California residency. The state began issuing these licenses, often referred to as “AB60 driver’s licenses” after the name of the bill that created them, on Jan. 1.

“The availability of driver’s licenses for undocumented workers is really going to be life changing for a lot of the workers that we serve,” said Diane Webb, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center. “This takes the fear out of doing the normal things like dropping kids off at school, commuting to and from work and obtaining car insurance.”

AB60 does not give undocumented immigrants a right to work, only to drive. Under federal law, employers still must require employees to submit proof of their identity and authorization to work in the United States.

A driver’s license is typically on the list of documents an employee could provide, along with a passport, birth certificate, Social Security card or green card.

The new law “makes it clear you cannot demand a driver’s license from an applicant or employee unless it is required by law or the demands of the job,” said Amy Jensen, partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson who represents employers.

When the job requires driving, the new law “is going to put employers in a real catch-22 situation,” Jensen said. State law says employers cannot discriminate because they have this form of identification, but what happens if the employer hires a person who has one?

Felicia Reid, an attorney with Hirschfeld Kraemer who represents employers, said her “immigration folks” say if an employee submits an AB60 driver’s license and another document that “appears valid on its face” and establishes the person’s right to…”

 

 

 

Originally posted  by SF Gate. Full article at : http://www.sfgate.com/business/networth/article/State-adds-more-than-30-employment-laws-6010610.php

National Labor Relations Board and Courts Disagree about ‘Joint Employer’ Ruling

“A divide may be forming between courts and the National Labor Relations Board over the “joint employer” ruling.

In a statement issued to The Daily Caller News Foundation Friday, the International Franchise Association argued, “A ruling by a federal judge this week yet again affirmed the definition of ‘joint employer’ as it relates to franchise businesses, in direct contrast to recent moves by the National Labor Relations Board to scrap the definition and make individually-owned, small-business franchisees one and the same with their corporate franchisors.”

 Last year, the NLRB issued a controversial decision that made franchisors ”joint employers” with the individual franchisees they contract out to. The decision has the potential to dramatically overturn decades of established laws and greatly affect the franchise model for restaurants and other small businesses that contract with a larger brand name.

On Tuesday, a judge ruled in Vann v. Massage Envy Franchising LLC that the franchisor was not the employer of the individual businesses they contract out to.

“In a case involving a massage therapist who alleged violations of minimum wage laws, Judge Roger T. Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled on January 6 that Massage Envy, a corporate franchisor, was not the employer of therapists in its franchisees’ California stores,” IFA noted.

They added, “Judge Benitez found that although the national company set standards, procedures and rules for local store operators, the individual alleging violations failed to show that Massage Envy was a joint employer with its franchisees.”

“The ruling is the second major judgment in recent months which upheld a decades-old understanding of the meaning of joint employer,” The IFA concluded. “In late August, 2014, the California Supreme Court declined to hold franchisor Domino’s Pizza LLC liable in a sexual harassment case.”

Matt Haller, senior vice president of Media Relations and Public Affairs, told TheDCNF, “It’s pretty clear, again, that the NLRB continues to ignore established law.”

“Clearly, franchisors are not joint employers with their franchisees,” Haller said.

 The NLRB has defended their ‘joint employer’ decision by stating…”
Originally posted by The Daily Caller. Full article at http://dailycaller.com/2015/01/10/courts-and-nlrb-disagree-on-joint-employer-ruling/

House Approves Bill Defining Work Week as 40 hours Under Obamacare

“The Republican-led House of Representatives took the first swipe at weakening Obamacare Thursday, when it voted 252-to-172 to raise the definition of a full-time workweek to 40 hours.

 The 40-hour workweek bill aims to ease health insurance requirements for employers under the Affordable Care Act, which currently defines full-time as 30 hours per week.

According to MSN, only 12 Democrats joined Republicans in backing the measure, which will allow businesses to offer health insurance to fewer workers by raising the minimum hours worked at which employers are required to provide insurance for workers.

Congressional aides and lobbyists said the 40-hour workweek bill was chosen as the initial assault on the health care law by Republican leaders because they believe they can attract enough support from House and Senate Democrats to pressure the president into signing it.

President Obama, however, has already said that he would veto the bill if it passed.

The “40-hour fix,” which the Inquistr reported has been a goal of Republican leaders for quite some time, has drawn fire from many unions.

The AFL-CIO, in fact, supports lowering the minimum hours required for a full-time workweek to 20 in an attempt to protect full-time workers from seeing their hours reduced.

“There has been frustration with the 30-hour threshold and with people losing hours,” said AFL-CIO health care lobbyist Tom Leibfried. “What labor would like is a stronger set of employer responsibility requirements.”

Under the current health care law, businesses with more than 50 full-time employees are required to provide health insurance benefits to those who work 30 or more hours a week. Republicans claim that the current law is…”

 

Originally posted by Inquisitr. Full article at http://www.inquisitr.com/1740681/40-hour-full-time-workweek-bill-passes-as-congress-starts-war-against-obamacare/

Business Leaders and White House Clash Over Current and Upcoming Regulation

“With the White House taking a more aggressive role in setting labor standards, industry groups are beginning to fight back — lashing out at the executive branch for pursuing “a partisan agenda.”

A coalition of five national industry groups — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — filed a complaint in federal court earlier this week to block a change to the way the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administers unionization elections. The new regulatory framework, which the Chamber and other industry groups derisively refer to as the “ambush election” rule, makes it easier for workers to quickly call an ballot by allowing for electronic filing of documents and preventing employers from slowing the process through pre-election litigation.

In a statement announcing the complaint, the industry groups behind the challenge accused the NLRB of being a partisan, activist institution.

“The NLRB has thrown objectivity and fairness out the window in its single-minded pursuit of Big Labor’s union-organizing goals,” said David French, senior vice president of the National Retail Federation, one of the groups behind the suit.

Linda Kelly, general counsel and senior vice president for the National Association of Manufacturers, said that with the introduction of the new NLRB rule, the Obama administration “has made it clear that it plans to pursue a partisan agenda to overturn longstanding and effective labor policy.”

The White House has made little effort to conceal its intentions in that regard. In recent weeks, the NLRB has come down on the side of organized labor in a number of other significant, precedent-setting decisions.

On Dec. 19, for example, the labor board’s general counsel determined that fast-food chain McDonald’s can be held responsible for labor law violations committed by owners of its franchised locations. McDonald’s has vowed to resist that decision in court.

The Labor Department has also been keeping busy. The department’s Wage and Hour division has stepped up its enforcement of wage and hour violations such as unpaid overtime or wage theft, and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is expected to announce soon new rules expanding the number of workers who are legally entitled to overtime pay.

During a Wednesday speech to the National Summit on Raising Wages — a Washington, D.C. event sponsored by AFL-CIO, America’s biggest labor federation — Perez stressed what he said was the essential partnership between the labor movement and President Barack Obama.

“He is here in spirit,” he said. “He is here in his values.”

Organized labor and the White House have not…”

 

Originally posted by Aljazeera America. Full article at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/7/showdown-loomingbetweenwhitehouseandbusinessoverlaborrules.html

2014: The Best Year for Job Growth in 15 Years!

“2014 was the best year for job growth since 1999 — and nearly every industry shared in the gains.

A good year for hiring — finally.

Not only has overall job growth been strong this year, but the types of jobs added have been spread across almost every industry.

In November, the Labor Department’s diffusion index, which measures the breadth of industries expanding their payrolls, reached its highest level since January 1998, signaling that the labor market recovery is broadening, and isn’t restricted to certain sectors of the economy.

The strongest showing came from the business and professional services sector, which added a total of 680,000 jobs through November this year (December numbers won’t be released until Jan. 9.) This sector includes a range of positions, such as marketing associates, secretaries and lawyers.

Take, for example, the online reviews company Yelp  YELP 0.77% , which hired about 300 salespeople over two quarters this year, adding to its almost 2,000-person staff. CFO Robert Krolik said that the company is preparing for the future now “by hiring so many folks now and making sure that they are productive.” If business does slow down, all Yelp has to do “is slow down the hiring process,” he added.

2014 was the best year for job growth since 1999 — and nearly every industry shared in the gains.

A good year for hiring — finally.

Not only has overall job growth been strong this year, but the types of jobs added have been spread across almost every industry.

In November, the Labor Department’s diffusion index, which measures the breadth of industries expanding their payrolls, reached its highest level since January 1998, signaling that the labor market recovery is broadening, and isn’t restricted to certain sectors of the economy.

The strongest showing came from the business and professional services sector, which added a total of 680,000 jobs through November this year (December numbers won’t be released until Jan. 9.) This sector includes a range of positions, such as marketing associates, secretaries and lawyers.

Take, for example, the online reviews company Yelp  YELP 0.77% , which hired about 300 salespeople over two quarters this year, adding to its almost 2,000-person staff. CFO Robert Krolik said that the company is preparing for the future now “by hiring so many folks now and making sure that they are productive.” If business does slow down, all Yelp has to do “is slow down the hiring process,” he added.

 That sentiment seems to have been shared across industries, from healthcare to construction and manufacturing — sectors that were buoyed by the nation’s strong GDP gains in recent quarters. The economy added jobs at a strong clip this year — an average of 241,000 a month — and has finally made up for all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. From January to November, a total of 2.65 million jobs were added and the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.7% when we rang in the start of 2014.
The pickup in job growth also helped boost wages, although gains have been…”
Originally posted by Fortune. Full article can be found at:  http://fortune.com/2014/12/31/employment-year-job-gains/