This is the final article in a series of five addressing new employment-related laws for 2018. Today we take a look at workplace safety and workers’ compensation.
SB 258 establishes the Cleaning Product Right to Know Act. It requires manufacturers of designated cleaning products to disclose the chemicals in those products and create product safety data sheets. Designated cleaning products include general cleaning, air care, automotive, or polish or floor maintenance products used primarily for janitorial, industrial or domestic cleaning purposes.
SB 258 affects employers that have these designated cleaning products in their workplaces. Under the existing Hazard Communications Program (which requires all employers to communicate workplace hazards to employees, particularly when employees handle or may be exposed to hazardous substances during normal work or foreseeable emergencies) standard, employers are required to maintain and make readily accessible safety data sheets providing information about hazardous substances. SB 258 will require employers to also obtain information from manufacturers about the cleaning products covered under this Act and make those safety data sheets available.
As for workers’ compensation, several bills were signed into law in 2018:
AB 44 requires employers to provide a nurse case manager to employees injured during the course of employment by an act of domestic terrorism. Employer-appointed nurse case managers will act as advocates to help injured workers obtain medically necessary medical treatments. This bill will also require an employer to provide a notice to claimants that will be developed by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. These provisions are applicable only if the governor declares a state of emergency in connection with an act of domestic terrorism.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation will adopt regulations to implement this new law, including regulations on the scope and timing of the employer’s obligation to provide a nurse case manager and the contents of the notice that employers must provide to claimants.
SB 189, which is effective July 1, 2018, clarifies when owners, officers of businesses, members of boards of directors, general partners in a partnership and managing members of LLCs may be excluded from workers’ compensation laws. This bill revisits AB 2883 from 2016, the structure of which was challenging to stakeholders. SB 189 also includes provisions allowing the ability to grandfather in prior waivers.
AB 1422 extends the automatic stay on liens filed by medical providers who are charged with criminal fraud. AB 1422 cleans up issues that resulted from the enactment of SB 1160 in 2016.
SB 489 extends the billing deadline for providers of emergency treatment services from 30 days to 180 days.
The California Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to participate in the upcoming workshops to discuss draft regulations for the new state-run retirement savings program, Secure Choice.
Workshops are scheduled for December 5 at the State Personnel Board, located at 801 Capitol Mall, Room 150 in Sacramento, and December 7 at the Ronald Reagan State Building, Auditorium, 300 South Spring Street in Los Angeles from 10 a.m.–noon. Individuals who cannot attend the hearings in person may provide comments by phone at (888) 278-0296, participant code: 6531748.
Signed by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in 2016, SB 1234 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 804), along with the original SB 1234 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 734) and SB 923 (de León; D-Los Angeles; Chapter 737) in 2012, creates a framework for the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Investment Program.
The program is a state-run retirement savings plan for private employees that includes automatic enrollment with an opt-out provision for an estimated 6.3 million California workers whose employers do not currently offer an eligible retirement savings program. Private employers with five or more employees will be required to automatically enroll their employees into and make payroll deductions for their Secure Choice retirement accounts, unless the employee opts out.
Employers that do not offer a retirement plan or do not auto-enroll their employees into Secure Choice would be subject to a penalty; otherwise the program is intended to impose no risk or liability to the employer or to the state. It is intended that employers’ responsibility is simply as a pass-through; to deduct and submit contributions from employee wages.
The program will be funded by an automatic 3% to 5% payroll deduction; specific default contribution will be determined by the Secure Choice Investment Board. There is no contribution made by the employer into the retirement account.
According to the State Treasurer’s Office, late 2019 is likely to be the earliest that large employers that do not offer a retirement plan to their employees will be required to provide access to Secure Choice. The requirement will be phased in over a three-year period. Any information to the contrary is wrong. Please contact the Treasurer’s Office if you are told something different so they can correct the source by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
CalChamber will continue to actively engage in rulemaking, closely monitor the activities of the Secure Choice Investment Board, and provide input as appropriate regarding program design and employer risk.
Ventura County residents and visitors will have an opportunity to raise sails, sing sea shanties, and learn about life on a 19th-century tall ship when the Hawaiian Chieftain visits the Channel Islands Harbor in December.
This one-of-a-kind tall ship based out of Grays Harbor, Washington will be docking at the Channel Islands Harbor from December 15th – 20th. The Hawaiian Chieftain, a replica of a sailing vessel that ran the trading routes in the 1800s, will be open for walk-on tours and adventure sails. A crew of 10-14 people will be on board to answer questions.
Visiting this vessel, docked near the Ventura County Harbor Patrol offices, (3900 Pelican Way Oxnard, CA 93035) is a perfect way to spend a few hours at the Harbor. Here is the schedule for the Hawaiian Chieftain:
For more information and reservations, call 1-800-200-5239. Please visit www.historicalseaport.org to purchase tickets.
More than 250 middle and high school girls will be participating in the second Girls STEM Day hosted by the Career Education Department of the Oxnard Union High School District. The event provides opportunities to encourage girls to pursue STEM-related careers.
Over 30 female engineers, representing numerous business and industry partners, will share the excitement and relevance of careers within STEM. Industry Partners include Aera Energy, Southern California Edison, California Resources Corporation, California Aeronautical University, City of Oxnard, Jensen Design, Nusil, Urban Strategies, Ventura College, AeroComputers, and tenant commands of the Navy including NAVAIR, NAVFAC and NAVSEA.
While the girls experience three workshops from female engineers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as they develop skills for the 21st century, their parents will be receiving information on how to encourage their daughters to pursue higher education in the STEM pipeline, an overview of the local higher education options, and how to afford college through financial aid options.
The keynote speaker will be Silvia Faulstich, a Flight Test Engineer at Port Mugu, supporting Unmanned and Manned aircraft. She is a strong supporter of STEM recruitment and volunteers in many areas in her community.
This event is made possible through numerous other partners, such as the Oxnard Chamber of Commerce, Richard Favor, Food Share, the Port of Hueneme, Californians for Energy Independence, Southern California Edison, CSU-Channel Islands, Oxnard College, VC STEM, and the Ventura County Civic Alliance.
WHEN: December 2, 2017 ~ 8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Hueneme High School, Oxnard, CA
WHAT: Second Annual Girls STEM Day with Oxnard Union High School District
WHO: Oxnard Middle School students and local female engineers; and
Key Note Speaker Silvia Faulstich of Naval Air Warfare Center, Point Mugu
CONTACT: Mary Anne Rooney, Project Director
Ventura County Civic Alliance
The Ventura County Civic Alliance (VCCA) is a regional collaborative of civic leaders representing a balanced mix of 3E — economic, environmental and social-equity perspectives. Its mission is to work together with our community to promote a healthy and sustainable future for Ventura County. VCCA is an initiative of the Ventura County Community Foundation. For more information about the Alliance and how to join, go online to www.CivicAlliance.org.
The Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD) serves Oxnard, Camarillo and Port Hueneme. Founded in 1905, the district currently operates 10 schools (seven comprehensive high schools, one continuation high school, one middle college school and one adult school). More than 300,000 residents live within district, which employs over 700 teachers and oversees the education of over 20,000 students with an annual operating budget of over $170 million.
This is the fourth in a series of articles on changes to 2018 employment laws. An important new law requires small employers to provide new parents with up to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave. Other laws affect state wage replacement benefits.
Parental Leave for Small Employers
SB 63, the New Parent Leave Act, requires small businesses with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to bond with a new child within one year of the child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. SB 63 only requires employers to provide parental leave; it does not require employers to provide leave for other reasons, such as a family member’s medical issue. The Act covers all employers with 20 or more employees.
To be eligible for the new parent leave, an employee must:
This new law will have the greatest impact on employers with 20 to 49 employees who are not currently required to provide baby bonding leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act or the state California Family Rights Act.
If an employee takes this leave, an employer must maintain and pay for coverage under a group health plan at the same level and conditions that coverage would have been provided if the employee had continued working.
Before the leave starts, an employer must provide the employee with a guarantee of reinstatement to the same or comparable position. Failure to provide the guarantee will be deemed a violation of the law, as if the employer refused to provide leave.
Under SB 63, an employer can be sued if an employee alleges that the employer:
Paid Family Leave and SDI Benefits
Keep in mind that a bill from 2016 affects Paid Family Leave (PFL) and State Disability Insurance (SDI) benefits starting on January 1, 2018. This bill, AB 908, increases the amount of PFL or SDI benefits an employee can receive to either 60 percent or 70 percent of earnings, depending on the employee’s income. There will still be a maximum weekly benefit limit on the amount received.
AB 908 also removes the current seven-day waiting period that exists before an employee is eligible to receive PFL benefits (it is not removed from SDI).
Employees who are eligible for leave under the New Parent Leave Act will be able to apply for PFL wage replacement benefits.
Under AB 1695, domestic service employers will no longer be allowed to file wage reports by telephone.
Also remember that a law from 2015 requires employers to electronically submit all employment tax returns, wage reports and payroll tax deposits to the Employment Development Department (EDD). The requirement became effective on January 1, 2017, for employers with 10 or more employees. Beginning January 1, 2018, all employers will be required to electronically file and pay.
As always, employers with questions about new and existing employment laws should seek the advice of legal counsel. The Oxnard Chamber strives to keep its members informed about new laws that could affect their business operations.