As predicted, on September 30, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed SB 973 into law. SB 973 requires private employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing by March 31, 2021, and by March 31 each year thereafter, for specified job categories by gender, race, and

California’s latest move on the COVID-19 front is an attempt to fill the gap left by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) – and requires larger employers to act immediately. The FFCRA – which mandates paid sick and FMLA leave for designated COVID-19 reasons – does not apply to employers with 500 or more employees. The FFCRA also allows employers of certain health care workers and emergency responders to exclude those employees from its coverage.

On September 10, 2020, Governor Newsom closed these FFCRA loopholes for California-based employees by signing A.B. 1867 into law. The new statute takes effect immediately, and by September 20, 2020, requires employers to provide up to 80 hours of “COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave” to the following “covered workers”:

  • California-based employees of larger employers (500 or more employees in the U.S.);
  • Specified “food sector workers” (A.B. 1867 effectively codifies Governor’s Newsom’s existing Executive Order already granting paid COVID-19 paid sick leave to these workers); and
  • Health care workers and emergency responders who were excluded from FFCRA by their employers.

A.B. 1867 does two other things:

  • It requires employers to allow employees who work in food facilities, as defined in Section 113789 of the Health and Safety Code, to wash their hands every 30 minutes and additionally as needed, and
  • It creates a new mediation pilot program under which small employers (5 to 19 employees) may request mediation through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within 30 days of receiving a right to sue notice for alleged violations of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the state law equivalent of the FMLA.

Interestingly, nothing in A.B. 1867 expressly limits the new COVID-19 sick leave benefit to California-based employees, but California’s ability to regulate employment relationships generally stops at its borders.

A.B. 1867’s requirements are detailed below.


Continue Reading Larger Employers Must Act Quickly To Address California’s New Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law, Including Making Changes to Paystubs Within 10 Days

On September 4, 2020, the California Legislature passed Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s bill relating to annual reporting of pay data (Senate Bill 973). If Governor Newsom signs the bill, as expected, SB 973 would require private employers with 100 or more employees to report pay data to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing

A potential amendment to California’s AB 5 law is sitting on Governor Newsom’s desk. If enacted, the amendment will allow certain professions to be classified as independent contractors rather than employees, notwithstanding AB 5’s presumption of employment status. On August 31, the California legislature sent AB 2257 to Governor Newsom for his review and signature. Supporters of the bill expect Newsom to sign it into law next month, especially given AB 5’s perceived negative impact on the “gig” economy during the pandemic. If signed by the governor, the law will take effect immediately.

By way of brief reminder, AB 5 established a 3-part test, known as the “ABC” test, that is used to determine if workers are employees or independent contractors for purposes of the Labor Code, the Unemployment Insurance Code, and the wage orders of the Industrial Welfare Commission. Under the ABC test, a person providing labor or services for remuneration is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity demonstrates that the person is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, the person performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and the person is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business. This broad test places most workers in the employee classification. AB 5, however, enumerated a few limited exemptions for specified occupations and business relationships from the application of the ABC test, providing that the exempt relationships are governed by the pre-AB 5 multi-factor test set out in S. G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Department of Industrial Relations. (For more detail on AB 5, click here.)

AB 2257 will modify some of the current exceptions to AB 5, and create new exceptions to AB 5’s presumption that workers are employees. A close read of the bill’s text is necessary given the proposed amendments’ nuances and sometimes conflicting detail.  We outline below some of the major changes contemplated by AB 2257, but if your business potentially falls into one of the enumerated exceptions, we strongly recommend consulting with employment counsel given the complexities involved.

New Exceptions

If enacted into law, AB 2257 will allow the following professionals to be classified as independent contractors in California if they satisfy the Borello standard.


Continue Reading Big Changes Coming To California’s Landmark Independent Contractor Law? Sort of.

California residents have some relief from shelter in place orders that took effect mid-March, with the state and several counties relaxing certain restrictions in early May. Despite those welcome changes, employers have much to track as they reopen businesses throughout California. A patchwork of state and local public health orders and guidelines confronts employers as

We are pleased to share our Shelter-in-Place / Reopening Tracker.

This document identifies the relevant state-wide shelter-in-place orders and their related expiration dates as well as the state-wide reopening plans, and whether local (county/municipal) orders also apply, in each of the 50 United States.

Please check back for updates throughout the pandemic.

On April 29, public health officials in six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara) and the city of Berkeley released new health orders extending mandates to shelter in place through May 31, while relaxing restrictions around some outdoor businesses and recreation activities. The new Orders will take effect May 4, the day existing shelter-in-place mandates would have expired. (We previously discussed the local Orders here and here.)

Continue Reading Bay Area’s Shelter-In-Place Orders Modified and Extended to May 31

In the wake of the global pandemic, many companies need to take quick action to reduce costs. This 40 minute webinar, co-hosted by the ACC Southern California Chapter, outlines the various cost-cutting strategies available to employers in the US, and walk participants through the major considerations necessary to minimize legal risk. Our speakers discuss how

As we reported previously, on March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance requiring large employers to provide emergency supplemental paid sick leave to employees affected by COVID-19 who work in the city limits. The ordinance was set to take effect upon signing by Mayor Eric Garcetti as emergency legislation.

However, last night, Mayor Garcetti returned the ordinance to the City Council unsigned, instead issuing a Public Order requiring paid sick leave under his emergency authority. Mayor Garcetti applauded the City Council for passing a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance, but found that the ordinance as drafted needed modification to strike a better balance between helping workers who will likely suffer through layoffs if the City imposes excessive burdens and costs upon businesses, and ensuring that City regulations do not unintentionally cause staffing shortages at hospitals and critical health facilities during the pandemic. The Mayor’s Public Order supersedes the March 27 City Council ordinance, and will remain in effect until two calendar weeks after the expiration of the COVID-19 local emergency period.

The Public Order is available here, and we have summarized its key provisions below. It creates new exemptions for employers with more generous leave programs, and gives credit for paid leave during closures.

Covered Employers, Employees and Required Leave

The Public Order applies to employers with (i) 500 or more employees within the City of Los Angeles or (ii) 2,000 or more employees within the United States.  Employers who do not meet these criteria are not required to provide sick leave – a change from the City Council ordinance that would have applied to employers with 500 or more employees anywhere in the U.S.


Continue Reading Los Angeles Mayor Issues Executive Order Modifying LA Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

With special thanks to Teresa Michaud and Sara Pitt for contributing.

Revised Health Orders were handed down yesterday across the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Berkeley Counties), intended to “clarify, strengthen, and extend” the terms of the prior shelter-in-place orders. Each supersedes its prior order, and provides that the county order is intended to implement more stringent county-level restrictions, to complement the “baseline statewide restrictions” set by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order. In addition, where a conflict exists between the county order and any state public health order, “the most restrictive provision controls,” unless the State Health Officer formally determines that a given provision is a public nuisance.

Under the new orders, “Essential Businesses” remain “strongly encouraged” to remain open, but should maximize the number of employees working from home, and may only require employees to work on-site if their duties cannot be performed from home.

Most importantly, the revised county orders require that businesses that include an essential component, along with non-essential components, must (to the extent feasible) scale down their operations to the essential business component only. In addition, “Essential Businesses must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the Health Officer related to COVID-19.”


Continue Reading Revised Bay Area Health Orders Clarify, Extend, and Strengthen Prior Shelter-in-Place Orders