As the 2017 year winds down and we gear up for 2018, we take this opportunity to examine legislation that was passed in 2017 that will impact some, if not all, of the EIA’s members in 2018 and beyond.
Throughout 2017 the EIA’s Legislative Committee has met, reviewed a number of bills, taken positions on bills that impact public entities, and directed staff to follow up on various positions by sending letters of support, opposition, or concern to legislators. The bills summarized below were signed into law this fall and that the EIA’s Legislative Committee either supported or opposed during the 2017 legislative session. Should you have any questions about the below bills or other Legislative Committee matters, please contact the EIA’s Chief Claims Officer, Mike Pott at (916) 850-7300.
EMPLOYEE BENEFITS BILL
SB 63 (Jackson), otherwise known as the “New Parent Leave Act”, provides additional parental leave rights to employees in both the public and private sector. Specifically, employers must allow parents to take up to 12 weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child within the first year of the child’s life – whether the child is born to the employee, adopted by the employee, or in foster care with the employee. This new requirement applies to employees who have more than 12 months of service with the employer, at least 1,250 hours of service within the previous 12 month period, and who work at a worksite in which the employer employs at least 20 employees within a 75 mile radius. However, this statute is not applicable to employees who are already protected from certain employment actions under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Employers are also required to continue to pay for coverage under a group health plan for an employee who takes this leave. If the employer employs both parents, then the parents’ mandated parental leave would be capped at the same amount granted to an employee and would authorize the employer to grant simultaneous leave to these parents. Last, the bill prohibits an employer from refusing to hire, or from discharging, firing, suspending, expelling, or discriminating against, an individual for exercising the right to parental leave provided by the bill or for giving testimony or information regarding his or her own use of parental leave or another employee’s use of such leave. This addition to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act will take effect January 1, 2020.
AB 168 (Eggman) is a salary information bill that will prohibit all employers from asking an applicant for employment about their salary history. However, applicants will still be able to voluntarily provide salary history information, without prompting from the potential employer, and in such situations, employers will be able to consider and/or rely upon that disclosed information in determining salary for the applicant. This new statute will also require employers to provide the pay scale for the position to an applicant, upon the applicant’s request.
AB 459 (Chau) creates a new exception to the disclosure requirements of the California Public Records Act. Specifically, the act does not require the disclosure of a video or audio recording that was created during the commission or investigation of the crime of rape, incest, sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse when such recording depicts the face, intimate body part, or voice of a victim of the incident. If a request is made for the disclosure of such a recording, then the public agency will have to justify the withholding of the recording by demonstrating that the public interest served by not disclosing the recording clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the recording. In addition, the victim who is a subject of such a recording, the parent or legal guardian of a minor subject, and a deceased subject’s next of kin, or a subject’s legally authorized designee is entitled to inspect the recording and to obtain a copy of it.
AB 611 (Dababneh) authorizes a mandated reporter of suspected financial abuse of an elder or dependent adult to not honor a power of attorney as to a person about whom the mandated reporter has made a report to an adult protected services agency or law enforcement agency.
AB 1008 (McCarty) is closely connected with “Ban the Box” legislation that has been adopted in other states. In 2013, the Legislature enacted Labor Code Section 432.9 which provided that a state or local agency could not ask a job applicant to disclose, orally or in writing, information concerning the applicant’s conviction history until the agency has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment qualifications. AB 1008 repeals Labor Code Section 432.9 and creates Government Code Section 12952, which is a new addition to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The new statute provides that it is an unlawful employment practice under the FEHA for an employer with 5 or more employees to include on any application for employment any question that seeks the disclosure of an applicant’s conviction history or to inquire into or consider the conviction history of an applicant until after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. This does not apply to positions for which a state or local agency is otherwise required by law to conduct a conviction history background check, positions with a criminal justice agency, positions as a farm labor contractor, and positions where an employer is required by any state, federal, or local law to conduct criminal background checks for employment purposes.
After making a conditional offer of employment, an employer may inquire into the conviction history of the applicant. If an employer decides to deny an applicant a position of employment because of the applicant’s conviction history after making such an inquiry, the employer must make an individualized assessment of whether the conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the duties of the job. The employer is then required to provide the applicant written notification of the decision and the applicant then has five business days to respond to the notification before the employer can make a final decision. If the applicant submits additional information, then the employer must consider the information before making a final decision. If the employer still decides to deny the applicant employment, then the employer must notify the applicant in writing of this decision.
AB 1422 (Daly) requires that liens of a physician, practitioner, or provider and the liens of an entity controlled by a physician, practitioner, or provider who has been charged with specific crimes involving the federal Medicare or Medicaid programs, the Medi-Cal program, or the workers’ compensation system are to be automatically stayed, along with any interest accruing, until the criminal proceedings are resolved.
SB 489 (Bradford) extends the timeline for hospitals and emergency physicians to bill for emergency medical treatment for injured workers from 30 days to 180 days.