Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld summarizes new laws following the close of the 2021 legislative session that will affect California unions and workers

California lawmakers sent the Governor hundreds of bills in 2021. In this issue of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld’s labor law updates, we highlight those bills that bear a direct connection to workers and their health and safety, the labor movement, and worker justice. Click through the topics to read summaries of each bill:

Need to Know
  • SB 62: Ends piece rate payment and establishes new protections for garment workers
  • AB 701: Adopts protections for warehouse workers against unreasonable quotas
  • AB 1003: Increases criminal penalties for wage theft
  • SB 331: Further prohibits settlement agreements and NDAs from preventing the disclosure of workplace harassment and discrimination involving all protected characteristics
  • AB 1561: Provides clarifications regarding worker classification with respect to employees and independent contractors
  • SB 727: Adds general contractor liability for penalties, liquidated damages, and interest
  • AB 1023: Authorizes the Labor Commissioner to impose monthly penalties for failure to upload electronic certified payroll records on public works projects

Addressing Inequities

  • AB 1177: Convenes state commission to study creating a free public banking option
  • SB 390: Requires the Employment Development Department (EDD) to make a recession plan
  • AB 628: Modifies the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative program to address racial and ethnic inequities in the labor force
  • AB 941: Establishes resource centers to educate and assist farmworkers
  • SB 321: Convenes an advisory committee to develop health and safety standards for domestic workers
  • AB 313: Increases employment opportunities for people with disabilities in State government
  • SB 639: Ends subminimum wages for workers with disabilities

Health, Safety and Benefits

  • SB 242: Requires health plans and insurers to reimburse providers for PPE and other expenses to prevent the spread of respiratory diseases
  • SB 326: Adopts provisions of Affordable Care Act and Knox-Keene Act as permanent state programs
  • SB 510: Ends surprise billing for COVID-19 testing and immunization
  • AB 73: Incorporates wildfire smoke events and agricultural workers in the state’s PPE requirements
  • AB 1033: New California Family Rights Act provides leave to care for a parent-in-law
  • SB 606: Establishes an OSHA presumption of enterprise-wide violations and reforms citations for egregious violations
  • SB 278: Makes adjustments with respect to CalPERS compensation reporting errors

Public Sector Employees

  • AB 237: New Public Employee Health Protection Act protects health care coverage while public employees participate in strikes
  • SB 270: Imposes penalties on public employers who fail to provide bargaining unit information
  • AB 1048: Requires labor negotiations for inclusion of bargaining unit members employed at the Alameda Health System Hospital Authority (AHS) in ACERA
  • SB 598: Establishes PERB as the enforcing agency for Sacramento Regional Transit District
  • AB 275: Adjusts minimum and maximum probationary periods for community college district classified employees
  • AB 438: Expands rights to notice and hearing for classified school district employees
  • AB 1550: Protects union rights of University of California employees
  • AB 615: Provides right to appeal discipline for medical and dental interns and residents

Private Sector Employees

  • SB 338: Expands public posting of motor carriers with unpaid penalties for labor violations
  • AB 1506: Re-establishes the Borello test to determine whether newspaper carriers are independent contractors or employees
  • SB 646: Provides PAGA exemption for janitorial employees represented by a labor organization and requires janitorial companies to provide requested information  
  • AB 450: Creates Paramedic Disciplinary Review Board for paramedics to appeal licensure decisions

Education and Training

  • AB 1273: Expands “Earn and Learn” training programs for health and other licensed professions
  • SB 628: Enacts the California Creative Workforce Act of 2021
  • AB 643: Requires schools to provide advance notice to apprenticeship programs of career fairs and college fairs
  • AB 680: Enacts the California Jobs Plan Act of 2021

Many thanks to authors and editors Corey Kniss, Anne Yen, Ann Surapruik, Daniela Archila, Xochitl Lopez, Jolene Kramer, Kristina Zinnen, Kerianne Steele, Lisl Soto and Bill Sokol.

December 16, 2021

Legal Developments