New California Labor Laws- Part 1

In addition to the “Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” California Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of other new labor bills into law this year.  Most of these will go into effect in 2015.

Ensure the labor law posters in your workplace are up to date by purchasing a new State/Federal Combo Poster from First American Safety.

Below you will find a summary of the new laws.  There will also be a link that will lead to the text of the law.

AB-1634: OSHA Citation Penalty Reductions

Assembly Bill 1634 requires that any employer seeking a 50% penalty reduction as an abatement credit must submit proof that the violation has been abated, under penalty of perjury.  Employers are also required to abate serious violations even if the citation is under appeal unless they receive a waiver from the Appeals Board.

This change in the laws may complicate matters for employers seeking to appeal OSHA citations.  Often times the cited employer will challenge the need to abate the conditions cited but the law now requires abatement of the condition whether a violation truly exists or not.  Employers are encouraged to seek the advice of lawyers who specialize in OSHA matters and/or safety consultants should this situation come up.

Workplace safety posters can help improve your employees’ safety and reduce the likelihood of OSHA inspections that result from employee injuries.

AB-326: OSHA Reporting Requirements

AB-326 changes the wording in Section 6409.1 of the California Labor Code from “report by telephone or telegraph” to “report by telephone or email.”  Employers have always been required to immediately report all serious work-related injuries and fatalities to OSHA.  Now employers have the option of using email to report these incidents.  OSHA has decided that telegraphs are no longer to be used for this purpose so you can stop paying for that expensive telegraph training for your employees!

 SB-1360: Pay for Heat Illness Rest/Recovery Periods

Cal OSHA’s heat-related illness prevention standards require that employees be allowed to take preventative recovery breaks if they are feeling overwhelmed by the heat of a work site.  This is meant to minimize the effects of heat illness and prevent serious medical conditions such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke during hot weather when working outside.

Senate bill 1360 requires that employees receive their normal pay when taking a preventative recovery break.  The break must be counted as “hours worked” and no pay deductions are allowed.

SB-1299: Workplace Violence Prevention Plans for Hospitals

SB-1299 adds section 6401.8 to the CA labor code to require that certain types of hospitals develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan as part of the hospital’s injury and illness prevention plan.  The deadline for this action is July 1, 2016.

Hospitals are especially at risk for workplace violence incidents, especially those with emergency rooms and psychiatric wards.  The purpose of this law is to ensure hospitals are taking appropriate steps to protect their employees from violent incidents.

SB-1446: Health Care Coverage in Small Businesses

SB-1446 is an amendment to the Affordable Care Act that is meant to help small employers.  It allows businesses with fewer than 50 employees to keep existing non-ACA compliant health coverage through 2015 as long as it meets certain criteria:

  • The policy must have been in effect by December 31, 2013
  • The policy was still in effect at the time the bill was signed- July 7, 2014
  • The policy does not qualify as a grandfathered health plan under the ACA law.

These plans will be allowed to remain in effect until January 1, 2016.  Consult your insurance broker for details.

Part 2 coming soon…

California labor laws are constantly changing.  Stay tuned for the second part of this article.

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