The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) recently released updated human trafficking notices for employers.
California law requires some businesses to post a human trafficking notice near the public entrance or another conspicuous location where the public and employees may view the notice.
The notice provides hotline and text numbers for the public and victims of human trafficking to seek help or report unlawful activity.
The notice must be at least 8.5 x 11 inches in size, written in a 16-point font and must be in English, Spanish and one other language that is the most widely spoken language in the county where the business is located and for which translation is mandated by the federal Voting Rights Act. The OAG has developed notices in 22 other languages, which are available on their website. For more information on human trafficking, visit OAG Human Trafficking.
CalChamber members and nonmembers can access the Human Trafficking Model Notice and Human Trafficking Model Notice – English and Spanish.
By Loren Kaye
January 18, 2019
“The number one driver of cost of living is housing—housing is the issue. Unless we get serious about it, the state will continue to lose its middle class and the dream will be limited to fewer and fewer people.”
—Governor Gavin Newsom
During his campaign, candidate Newsom laid out ambitious goals for housing production—3.5 million new housing units by 2025, implying a production rate nearly four times faster than in recent years.
In his just-released budget, Governor Newsom made his first official housing policy statement and related substantive proposals. The goals are still ambitious, although the results will not be apparent for many years.
The Governor recognized that most new housing must be produced by the private marketplace, and that one of the key stumbling blocks is local government approval.
His budget reminds us that “Local governments have a key role in ensuring the building of adequate numbers of housing units to meet local needs. They have primary control over land use and housing-related decisions and enact policies that either encourage or discourage housing construction.”
Regional Housing Goals
The centerpiece of the Governor’s housing policy is to revamp regional housing needs and to begin to enforce local governments’ obligations to meet those needs.
The administration will no longer simply advise local agencies on how to meet those needs, but now will “oversee and enforce regional housing goals and production.”
The administration will provide incentives to accomplish these goals by allocating $250 million in short-term grants to help local agencies improve their planning and permitting systems. If cities and counties deliver on their commitments, the administration will make another $500 million available for general municipal purposes.
Along with these carrots, the Governor unveiled a stick: linking housing production to certain (not-yet-specified) transportation funds, and possibly other local economic development resources. This is potentially a serious attention getter and has already drawn opposition from local government and some legislators.
In addition to his ambition to directly influence local planning, zoning and permitting of market-rate development, the Governor proposes more tools to encourage subsidized and “affordable” housing:
• $500 million for subsidized loans for mixed-income developments.
• Expanding by five-fold the state low-income housing tax credit, a key lever to motivate investment in subsidized housing.
• Providing access to state-owned property for private affordable housing projects.
• Easing approvals for long-term debt for local financing districts that want to provide infrastructure for housing and other economic development projects.
• Allowing local infrastructure districts to join with federally designated Opportunity Zones by providing similar capital gains tax benefits for investments in these zones in affordable housing and “green technology” projects.
By Terry MacRae
Vacations to California’s natural wonders, cultural riches and exciting city attractions fuel stable employment and the world’s fifth largest economy.
Regardless of where travelers go and what they do in California, vacations are more than memories—they also spur one of California’s strongest economic pillars. In fact, tourism drove $132 billion in travel-related spending in 2017, generating $11 billion in state and local tax revenues.
Running a cruises and events company wasn’t exactly the course I expected to take when I studied mechanical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating and starting my career as an environmental engineer, I quickly rose through the ranks of Industrial Clean Air and later became vice president of sales for Ecolaire Systems Inc. I found myself regularly scouting venues for client and employee events, which is how I discovered and later purchased a small yacht charter company based in Berkeley, California.
Over the last four decades, Hornblower expanded to a 100-vessel, half-billion-dollar company, spanning over 30 ports from coast-to-coast. Today, Hornblower companies employ more than 2,500 people and we take great pride in knowing our business supports so many families.
Pillars of Economy
As you enjoy your next vacation, know you too are fueling many pillars of the state’s economy, which in turn supports jobs for 1.1 million California workers.
California’s tourism industry brings vibrancy to our economic health, vibrancy we see in the faces of the people who make this happy industry hum. It is these employees who help create amazing experiences and maintain California as a desirable travel destination. It is their energy and enthusiasm that melds with the natural beauty of California to create the vibrant experiences California is known to offer.
Whether it’s new Californians looking for employment, retirees seeking seasonal work, summer jobs for students or a second job that bolsters a family’s income, tourism jobs remain stable even in the midst of economic downturns. The service-oriented industry relies on employees—yes, real people—who have a stake in customer satisfaction, and their work cannot be shipped abroad or cut back by automation.
In the midst of the Great Recession, tourism’s employment held strong against other sectors, dipping just 5.6% compared to an overall employment loss of 8.6%. Coming out of the recession, tourism created more new jobs than any other industry—a trend that has reliably continued, with 30,000 new jobs created last year, a faster growth rate than state government, trade or manufacturing. (Source: California Employment Development Department)
Now, with the lowest unemployment rates since 1976 and a growing economy, California is seeing jobs growth slow, due in part to a shortage of workers. The California Foundation for Commerce & Education is projecting a shortfall over the next generation of more than a million graduates of four-year colleges and hundreds of thousands of those with two-year degrees.
Graduates who enter the workforce need qualities that employers urgently seek: Solid communications skills, personal responsibility, and a strong work ethic. Tourism jobs help prepare California’s workforce with exactly these important skills.
Travel and tourism is California’s largest export. International visitors spend more than $25 billion in California a year. That is more than the value of California’s agriculture exports.
To help keep California a desirable location, we must work to provide clean and safe cites and infrastructure necessary for visitors. Not only is it necessary to provide education and training, but we must all commit to provide affordable housing and transportation alternatives for the amazing folks who work in this industry. We must take immediate action and create permanent solutions.
The world has many beautiful places, so we must ensure we are working to maintain the competitiveness of this important pillar of California’s economy.
Secret to Success
On your next vacation, share how much we all appreciate the dedicated employees who help create those fond vacation memories. Take a moment to share your gratitude. These welcoming, hard-working folks may well be the secret to your best vacation ever and the secret to the success of California’s largest export industry: tourism and the jobs we all need.
Terry MacRae, 2018 chair of the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, serves as commissioner on the Visit California Board of Directors and is chief executive officer, president and founder of Hornblower Cruises & Events.
As you reflect on your list of New Year’s resolutions, resolve to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the new employment laws that you’ll need to know in 2019.
Employers need to make sure to be aware of new labor laws that could affect them in the new year.
CalChamber’s employment law counsel analyzed the significant bills that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law and prepared a white paper summarizing their effects on California employers.
Read the latest information on:
CalChamber members can access a full discussion of the new laws on HRCalifornia. Not a member? See what CalChamber can do for you.
Economic Advisory Council: Data Showing Balanced Growth Contrasts with Public Pessimism on State of Economy
The outlook for the U.S. economy hasn’t changed much over the course of 2018, despite the fact that the nation is on the edge of the longest economic expansion in the nation’s history. Growth has progressed at a steady, sustainable pace since the 2015 commodity bust and mild economic slowdown that occurred that year, according to a recent report by the California Chamber of Commerce Economic Advisory Council.
Growth in the last quarter of this year is expected to come in at slightly less than 3%, with growth for the entire year reaching 3.2%. This modest jump is being driven by the fiscal stimulus plan passed by Congress at the end of 2017.
Outside of the rapidly growing federal budget deficit, the U.S. economy looks to be well-balanced in terms of the structure of growth with solid fundamentals including private sector debt levels, consumer savings rates, rising wages, the overall pace of homebuilding, and business investment. Unemployment is low—but job growth remains steady.
In short, Beacon Economics’ forecast remains boringly positive, and yes, that outlook is expected to stay in place though 2020. This isn’t optimism. Rather, we don’t have any real reason to think otherwise.
Read the full report or download PDF.
Below are some of the highlights from the economic report.
U.S. Trade Policy
The only major short-term worry has been wrapped around the direction of U.S. trade policy, but the worst scenarios have not materialized. Rather than unilaterally pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as threatened, the United States instead negotiated a new trade agreement with our two neighbors and largest trading partners that, thankfully, looks almost exactly like the old trade agreement.
A brewing trade fight with the European Union that began with steel tariffs also has settled down, and there are now discussions about renewing talks and working toward a new trade agreement. It sounds a lot like T-TIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership)—the EU-U.S. trade negotiations canceled by President Trump in one of his first acts in office—although this one will likely be better.
Yes, the China trade dispute is still brewing. But even a major trade war with China would not be sufficient to end the current economic expansion. The United States exports fairly little to China—only 8% of all the nation’s exports. And what does get shipped out typically doesn’t have a long supply chain.
The greater threat comes from the fact that the United States sources 20% of its manufactured imports from China. But the tariff-increased costs to U.S. importers have been largely offset by a 13% depreciation in the yuan relative to the U.S. dollar. And even as this article is being penned, there are reports, albeit few specifics, of a possible breakthrough in negotiations.
Data vs. Discourse
All said, from a technical or data standpoint there is not much change in Beacon Economics’ forecast for the U.S. economy. The framing of the outlook is another story.
While little has changed in the actual economy, much of the public discourse surrounding the economy has taken a sharp turn for the worse. This new wave of pessimism has likely been driven by the sell-off in the stock market, slowing home sales, and rising interest rates. Yet, as we see it, these short-run trends do not amount to anything that could truly threaten the current expansion.
One wrongly assumed reason for rising rates is inflation. After years of inflation tracking below the Fed-targeted pace, price growth finally increased above the 2% mark. This should have made investors more confident as deflation is less of a risk. Instead, it created a panic about the potential for further increases. Investors need not have worried: the most recent numbers now show inflation back below the 2% range.
Beacon Economics expects inflation to remain weak over the next few years. Oil prices are once again down based on high levels of U.S. output. Money supply growth also is very constrained at the moment. And yes, unemployment sits at an extremely low 3.7%—but if this were going to have an effect, we would already feel inflationary pressures on the economy.
The U.S. housing market has slowed as a result of the bump in mortgage rates, which has created considerable consternation. However, there is a big difference between a housing pause and a housing bust. The U.S. housing market is not overpriced, nor has there been much risky lending—or lending in general—occurring.
So, for now, Beacon Economics is forecasting the expansion to continue and, barring some unexpected external impact, does not anticipate any major change in economic growth leading up to the 2020 election… for better or worse.
California Outlook: Growth Prospects for 2019
As 2018 progressed, it became evident that the California economy would continue to prosper despite the challenge of a tight labor market and concerns about the state’s housing situation.
Indeed, California’s economic performance was remarkably steady in 2018, fueled by expansion in the state’s industries, increases in incomes and wages, and in response to federal tax cuts enacted early in the year. Beacon Economics expects a continuation of these trends in 2019 and possibly into 2020.
For the month of October, California’s 308,700 year-to-year job gain was the second largest among the 50 states. One-fifth of the increase occurred in Health Care (63,100), followed by Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, Leisure and Hospitality, Administrative Services, Government and Construction, and Transportation.
Most headline economic numbers for the state show that California maintained an edge over the nation throughout the year. Its 1.8% yearly growth rate in jobs surpassed the 1.6% gain for the United States in October. California’s gross state product growth outpaced U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in the second quarter, with a 3.3% year-to-year gain compared to 2.9% nationally.
The scant increase in the state’s workforce is cause for concern in 2019, although there is evidence that metro area labor force dynamics are such that rapidly growing regions continue to attract workers, most notably in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Inland Empire.
Looking ahead to 2019, the question is, where will growth occur in California? The answer depends on the type of growth. Over the last three years, half of the job gains among the state’s industries have occurred in its population-serving sectors. This trend was led by Health Care, which accounted for 22% of California’s job gains over the three-year period from 2015 through 2018, followed by Leisure and Hospitality, and Government, and will continue through 2019.
Smaller but noteworthy contributions also came from the state’s leading external-facing industries, such as Professional Scientific and Technical Services (9%) and Transportation Services (9%).
Combine this with the 11% contribution from Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, and about half of all output generated in California came from tech-related activities over the last three years. Other external industries that weighed in with sizable contributions included Manufacturing at 7% and Transportation at 5%. Among those industries that contributed the largest job gains, only Health Care made a sizable contribution to output at 9% of the total.
Increasing Economic Pie
These findings provide insight into the future direction of the state economy. California can count on increases in employment among its population-serving industries in the coming quarters, but if the state wants to increase the size of the economic pie, it must look to its external industries to fuel that growth. That is the challenge that lies ahead for California’s newly elected governor and the rest of the state.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that it is extending the due date for certain 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting forms to be provided to employees.
In addition, the IRS notice extends “good faith transition relief” for one more year. The IRS will not penalize employers for incorrect or incomplete forms if they can show that they have made “good-faith efforts” to comply with the information-reporting requirements. According to the IRS, the relief applies to missing and inaccurate taxpayer identification numbers and dates of birth, as well as other information required on the return or statement. No relief is provided if the employer did not timely file or furnish the reports by the applicable deadlines or did not make a good-faith effort to comply.
For more information, visit the IRS website.
California employers that don’t already offer a workplace retirement savings vehicle will be required to either begin offering one via the private market or provide their employees access to CalSavers, a state-run retirement savings plan, as early as June 2020.
The CalSavers pilot program is open for employers to enroll; however, mandatory enrollment and contributions do not go into effect until 2020. Employers need not register until then, or later for smaller employers.
Emergency regulations governing the CalSavers program were recently approved by the Office of Administrative Law.
CalSavers is the result of 2016 legislation enacting the Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program (SCRSP) for private sector workers whose employers do not offer a retirement plan.
The legislation requires employers with five or more employees that do not offer specified retirement plans to put a payroll arrangement into place that requires employees to contribute a portion of their salary or wages to a retirement savings plan in the SCRSP, unless they opt out.
Employers that already offer a qualified retirement savings program will not be mandated to have their employees enrolled in the SCRSP. Employers retain the right at all times to set up and offer their own qualified retirement plan.
Registration Opens July 2019
According to the CalSavers website, employers will be able to start registering on July 1, 2019. Compliance will be phased in over a three-year period based on the size of the employer.
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 5% payroll deduction, the default contribution determined by the Secure Choice Investment Board. Employers will be required to automatically deduct contributions from employee paychecks and to transmit payroll contributions to the program.
The employer makes no contribution into the retirement account.
Employer Registration Deadlines
Deadlines for registering for the CalSavers program are as follows: