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.