On Thursday, the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee will consider two California Chamber of Commerce-supported bills that could help to reduce employers’ costs and accommodate employees’ needs.
The CalChamber supports AB 281 (Salas; D-Bakersfield) because it reduces costs to business by reforming the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) to allow an employer the right to cure a violation before a financially devastating representative action is filed, and if civil litigation is filed, requires the employee seeking penalties on behalf of others to actually have suffered from the alleged violation.
The policy committee will also consider AB 1173 (Harper; R-Huntington Beach), which provides employers with the opportunity to accommodate employees’ needs as well as business demands by allowing employees to request a voluntary, flexible workweek agreement that can be repealed by the employee at any time with proper notice.
AB 281: Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act Reform
California has some of the most onerous and complex labor laws in the country. This complexity is exemplified by PAGA, which essentially allows an individual to pursue a “representative action” on behalf of similarly aggrieved employees against an employer for almost any Labor Code violation. PAGA requires a $100 penalty per employee, per pay period for the first violation, and $200 per employee, per pay period for each subsequent violation.
AB 281 would mitigate this financial threat of frivolous litigation by allowing an employer 65 days in which to cure a limited list of alleged violations before a plaintiff can pursue civil litigation, instead of the 33 days provided for in current law.
The bill is beneficial to both the employer and employee. For the employer, it eliminates the threat of costly civil litigation for an unintentional error of which the employer was not aware. For the employee, AB 281 provides an efficient remedy to an alleged violation.
AB 1173: Flexible Workweek
California is one of only three states that requires employers to pay daily overtime after eight hours of work and weekly overtime after 40 hours of work. Even the other two states that impose daily overtime requirements allow the employer and employee to essentially waive the daily eight-hour overtime requirement through a written agreement. California, however, provides no such common-sense alternative.
Employers should be able to provide their employees more flexibility and negotiate through a written agreement, revocable by either party, the daily/weekly schedule that satisfies the needs of both the employee(s) and the employer.
For more information on AB 281 and AB 1173, visit CalChamber’s Top Story.
Staff Contact: Laura Curtis