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CA DIR Releases 2016 Legislative Digest With Overview of New Laws

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Oakland,CA.(WorkersCompensation.com) —The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) today released its 2016 Legislative Digest which summarizes new laws that impact workers and employers. Most of the chaptered bills are slated to take effect on January 1, 2017.

Highlights of the chaptered bills include: Improved California Wage and Hour Laws • SB 3 increases the state minimum wage annually starting on January 1, 2017 until it reaches $15 per hour on January 1, 2022. Employers with 25 or fewer employees have an extra year to comply with these requirements. It also provides that, starting July 1, 2018, In-Home Supportive Services workers are entitled to paid sick days. • AB 1066 ensures California farmworkers earn overtime pay according to the same standard as other workers, after eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. It creates a schedule to phase in these overtime requirements over a four-year period—from 2019 to 2022 for employers with 26 or more employees and from 2022 to 2025 for employers of 25 or fewer employees. • SB 1015 indefinitely extends the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights specifying that domestic workers earn overtime pay when they work more than nine hours in one workday day or more than 45 hours in any workweek.

Improved Access to Medical Care and Fraud Prevention • AB 1244 and SB 1160 build upon California’s workers’ compensation reforms by addressing two critical issues—reducing treatment delays for injured workers and rooting out provider fraud and illegitimate liens. AB 1244 requires the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to suspend any medical provider, physician or practitioner convicted of fraud from participating in the workers’ compensation system. SB 1160 expedites treatment to injured workers in the acute stage of a claim. It also mandates electronic reporting of utilization review data by claims administrators and implements measures intended to increase transparency and combat fraud in the system.

Improved Worker Health and Safety • AB 1978 protects janitorial workers by requiring registration of employers, starting July 1, 2018, and mandating the Labor Commissioner to establish a biennial in-person sexual violence and harassment prevention training requirement. • SB 1167 mandates Cal/OSHA propose a new standard that minimizes heatrelated illness and injury among workers working in indoor places by January 1, 2019. Budget Implementation • SB 836 (1) reforms the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) to allow greater state government and court oversight of PAGA claims and litigation; (2) clarifies public works requirements for ready-mix cement delivery; (3) aligns statutes that authorize the Divisions of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) and Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to charge fees for various regulatory activities to make the programs self-sustaining through user fees and reduce the number of funds into which those fees are deposited; (4) eliminates a duplicate inspection requirement in the Permanent Amusement Ride Safety Inspection Program; and (5) authorizes sharing confidential information among state education and job training agencies for evaluating and reporting on program performance and outcomes for program participants.

The Department of Industrial Relations protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. DIR administers and enforces laws governing wages, hours and breaks, overtime, retaliation, workplace safety and health, apprenticeship training programs, and medical care and other benefits for injured workers. DIR also publishes materials and holds workshops and seminars to promote healthy employment relations, conducts research to improve its programs, and coordinates with other agencies to target egregious violators of labor laws and tax laws in the underground economy. DIR’s divisions include the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA, the Division of Workers’ Compensation and the Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

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