Like a late crop, some state laws passed in 2015 are ripe for enforcement on July 1, including new rules for disability insurance, wage garnishment and drivers of ready-mix concrete trucks. There are also some important deadlines coming up for a state law on piecework compensation.
Title: Disability Insurance
What it says: It eliminates a second seven-day wait period for disability payments, if the recipient is applying for the same or related condition and already has gone through the initial seven-day wait. Extends the disability benefit period from 14 to 60 days.
What it means: The author, Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, “argues that the unpaid waiting period places an unnecessary hardship on workers managing a chronic health condition and discourages employees from returning to work as soon as, and for as long as, possible,” according to a state Assembly analysis. “This bill is a common sense reform that will give workers with serious health issues better access to much needed (state disability) benefits.” The extension of time to 60 days also addressed chronic conditions and treatments with courses that can last over weeks, such as chemotherapy.
Title: New Wage and Garnishment Restrictions
What it says: It reduces the amount a debtor’s take-home pay can be garnished to the lesser of 25 percent of weekly pay, or 50 percent, if that net pay exceeds 40 times the state or local minimum wage. Exceptions are child support and government debt.
What it means: The law was primarily created for minimum-wage earners who found nearly all their net pay could be exposed to garnishment, said Pascal Benyamini, a labor and employment attorney and partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath.
“If someone was making $10 an hour, the state minimum wage, under the previous law there was a potential they could give up almost all their income to garnishment and take very little home.
In the view of the state, that was putting the individual into further poverty,” he said.
Title: Piecework Compensation
What it says: It requires that in addition to piecework production, workers also must be compensated for rest and recovery periods and “other nonproductive time.” The exposure time for retroactive pay, including interest, is July 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2015. The legislation grew out of two 2013 California appellate court decisions that declared piecework rate only pays for production time, and that there should be separate compensation for the other defined periods.
What it means: Although the law took effect Jan. 1, employers need to know two key deadlines. July 1 is the deadline for employers to notify the state Department of Industrial Relations of their intention to make back pay with interest to piecework employees by Dec. 15, 2016. By doing that, the employer has an affirmative defense until Jan. 1, 2021, to legal actions based on failure to pay in the categories AB1513 describes.
“For auto mechanics or apparel workers … there can be some down time between one piece of work and when you start the next.
The legislation is intended to capture the payment for that down time,” as well as rest breaks and other categories listed on wage stubs, Benyamini said.
Also of note:
AB219: Prevailing wages must be paid to drivers of the ready-mix concrete trucks used in California public works projects. It applies to those type of contracts awarded on or after July 1.
AB1245: A more-than-halfway warning. This law requires employers with 10 or more workers to use the e-file system for unemployment insurance by Jan. 1, 2017. The mandate will include all California employers by 2018.
Sick Pay: If you work in the city limits of Los Angeles or San Diego – annual sick pay days will go above the California minimum of three days starting July 1 in both cities. For Los Angeles, the number goes to six days, for San Diego, it’s five days. Check with your employer to see if this means you.
Content Courtesy of Los Angeles Daily News.