The California Chamber of Commerce has just released its annual list of “job killer” bills that have been proposed in the California Legislature. This year’s list identifies 32 proposed laws, including six new “Costly Workplace Mandates.”

Chamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg cautioned against “increase[d] uncertainty for employers and investors and . . . higher costs of doing business” while employers already face “higher health care premiums, higher workers’ compensation premiums, increased unemployment insurance taxes, and general tax increases.”

The “Costly Workplace Mandate” bills, which would directly affect California employers, are:

  • AB 5 (Ammiano, D-San Francisco) Creates a New Category of Protected Individuals (Homeless/Low Income Employees and Customers): The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights and Fairness Act would create a new protected class of employees and customers who are homeless, have a low income, or suffer from a mental illness or physical disability, and it establishes a private right of action carrying the possibility of punitive damage awards for violations. (Available here.)
  • AB 10 (Alejo, D-Salinas) Automatic Minimum Wage Increases: Raises the minimum wage by almost 16 percent from $8.00 to $9.25 per hour by 2016 and thereafter indexes additional increases to inflation. (Available here.)
  • AB 1138 (Chau, D-Alhambra) New Potential Workers’ Compensation Liability: Requires employers to post a notice and maintain complete lists of employees covered by workers’ compensation insurance and to retain the notices and lists for five years to avoid a conclusive presumption in civil proceedings that the employer is not adequately insured. (Available here.)
  • SB 404 (Jackson, D-Santa Barbara) Expansion of Fair Employment and Housing Act To Include “Familial Status”: Adds to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act a new protected category of “familial status,” covering anyone who is, is perceived to be or is associated with a “family caregiver.” (Available here.)
  • SB 626 (Beall, D-San Jose) More Workers’ Compensation Increases: The Chamber’s analysis states that it “[u]nravels 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.” (Available here.)
  • SB 761 (DeSaulnier, D-Concord) Additional Paid Family Leave Protection: Prohibits termination or other discrimination against an employee who uses family temporary disability insurance benefits, which provide up to six weeks of wage replacement benefits to workers who take time off from work to care for a seriously ill child, parent, or partner, or to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child. Provides for employment reinstatement, actual damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs if the employee prevails in the litigation. (Available here.)

For more information on how these proposed bills may impact you, contact your Proskauer relationship attorney.