California employers must begin complying with several new wage-and-hour laws enacted in recent weeks. Recent legislation provides overtime pay for domestic workers, mandates more pay for missed “cool-down” breaks, increases damages for minimum wage violations and adds other employer obligations.
A.B. 241: The “Domestic Worker Bill of Rights” requires that individuals in household occupations (such as nannies, housekeepers and those who care for the elderly or disabled) be paid time-and-a-half overtime pay for hours worked in excess of nine per day or 45 per week. This new law excludes “casual baby sitters” whose work is irregular and intermittent, baby sitters under the age of 18 and employees of residential care facilities.
While this new law will not have a direct effect on the workplace, it may result in an increase in requests for flexible or reduced work schedules as employees seek to lower their childcare or elder-care expenses.
S.B. 435: Affects employers that must pay an additional hour’s wages to employees who must work through a legally mandated meal period or rest break. S.B. 435 extends this requirement on employers to pay an additional hour of pay when they fail to provide any “recovery” periods required by Division of Occupational Safety and Health regulations. A “recovery” period is a cool-down period afforded to employees who work outside to prevent heat illness.
A.B. 442: Requires employers that fail to pay the minimum wage to pay liquidated damages in addition to criminal and civil penalties, as well as restitution to the employees. Advice: In light of this new law, audit your payroll and wage policies and practices to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
S.B. 462: Provides that an employer may only recover attorneys’ fees and defense costs as a prevailing party in an action brought by an employee for unpaid wages if the employer can prove that the employee brought the action “in bad faith.”
A.B. 533: Applies to employers that employ minors as movie extras, background performers (and similar roles) and athletes. The new law exempts these employers from having to set aside 15% of the employee’s gross earnings in trust for the benefit of the minor employee.