Each year the California Chamber of Commerce releases a list of “job killer” bills to identify legislation that it claims will decimate economic and job growth in California. The CalChamber will track the bills throughout the rest of the legislative session and work to educate legislators about the serious consequences these bills will have on the state. The List for 2013 now shows several proposed legislative changes that pertain to workers’ compensation and other workplace issues.
SB 626 (Beall; D-San Jose) Massive Workers’ Compensation Cost Increase – Unravels many of the employer cost-saving provisions in last year’s workers’ compensation reform package and results in employers paying nearly $1 billion in benefit increases to injured workers without an expectation that the increases will be fully offset by system savings.
AB 1138 (Chau; D-Alhambra) Massive Exposure to Civil Penalties and Liability – Inappropriately increases civil cases and civil penalties on employers by permitting civil action against those employers who fail to conspicuously post a list of every employee covered under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy and to retain this list for five years.
SB 761 (DeSaulnier; D-Concord) Paid Family Leave Protection – Creates a new burden on small businesses and additional opportunities for frivolous litigation by transforming the paid family leave program, which is used as a wage replacement for an employee who is taking a separate leave of absence, into an additional paid protected leave.
AB 5 (Ammiano; D-San Francisco) Increased Exposure to Frivolous Litigation – Imposes costly and unreasonable mandates on employers that could jeopardize the health and safety of others by creating a new protected classification of employees and customers who are or are perceived to be homeless, low income, suffering from a mental disability, or physical disability, and establishing a private right of action for such individuals that includes statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.
AB 10 (Alejo; D-Salinas) Automatic Minimum Wage Increase – Unfairly increases California employers’ cost of doing business by raising the minimum wage $1.25 over the next three years and thereafter indexing the minimum wage based on inflation, which fails to take into account the current economic status of the state or other fees and costs employers are required to pay.
SB 404 (Jackson; D-Santa Barbara) Expansion of Discrimination Litigation – Makes it virtually impossible for employers to manage their employees and exposes them to a higher risk of litigation by expanding the Fair Employment and Housing Act to include a protected classification for any person who is, perceived, or associated with a family caregiver.
AB 1164 (Lowenthal; D-Long Beach) Inappropriate Wage Liens – Creates a dangerous and unfair precedent in the wage and hour arena by allowing employees to file liens on an employer’s personal property or real property where the work was performed, based on an alleged but unproven wage claim, that will take priority over other existing liens.
The CalChamber will continue to add legislation to the “job killer” list throughout the year as bills are amended or new language is introduced.