Attempts to save the new Healthy Workplaces Healthy Families Act of 2014 (PSL Law) from its own poor drafting won’t make it in time. Employers are feeling sick over the amount of confusion in calculating timing, accrual rates, and how to track the new leave. Unfortunately, clarity in the form of amendments to the law under AB-304 won’t pass in time to make a difference. The bill experienced a flurry of activity in the weeks before the PSL Law took effect, making it through several readings in the Assembly and passage onto the Senate. However, it looks like those last desperate moments were nothing more than death throes as the bill has been stuck in Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations since June 25th. The PSL law goes into effect July 1, 2015.

Troubling news for growers out of Florida: a federal court judge held on May 29, 2015 that growers have joint liability for a farm labor contractor’s (“FLC”) wage and hour violations.

In Garcia-Celestino, et al. v. Consolidated Citrus LP, the FLC Ruiz Harvesting (“Ruiz”) sponsored a group of H-2A workers from Mexico to be furnished to Consolidated Citrus. The H-2A workers incurred extensive personal expenses in order to get to Consolidated Citrus’ worksites in Florida, including paying for their own travel, lodging, food, and Visa applications. The workers were not reimbursed for any of these expenses.

While working in Florida, the H-2A workers were compensated on a piece rate basis that regularly fell below the Adverse Effect Wage Rate and they were required to “pay back” certain earnings to the Company. The H-2A workers incurred further expenses for travel, food, and lodging when their contract was over and they traveled home to Mexico.

In order to determine whether a grower is liable for the wage and hour violations of an FLC, courts will consider the totality of the circumstances. Most often joint liability is found where the grower and FLC share control of the employees or because one entity controls the other. Another indicator of joint liability is whether the employees are economically dependent on both the grower and FLC.

Lawmakers are rushing to the aid of the new sick leave law known as the Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (The Act). Some poorly written provisions have employers experiencing symptoms of confusion and disorientation. The Act takes effect July 1, 2015, and employers are hoping the amendments proposed in AB 304 arrive in time. A flurry of activity on the bill in early June saw the bill ordered to a third reading on the assembly floor and tagged as urgency legislation in its fifth version. However, that tag requires the bill to pass with a 2/3 majority vote in both houses. The Senate hasn’t even weighed in on the bill yet. As of June 18, 2015, the bill has been ordered to an additional third reading following further amendments. With precious time ticking away to save the patient, The Act’s effective date may end up being pushed back (as happened in Massachusetts).

The biggest headaches stem from The Act’s required accrual rate for paid sick leave (PSL). The law as currently written requires employers to track sick leave by each 30 hour period worked by an employee. Many employers accrue PSL on a per-pay period basis as opposed to an hourly basis. The amendments will allow an employer to use any accrual basis it chooses so long as the accrual period is regular (each week or each pay period) and will result in at least 24 hours of sick time accrual by the 120th calendar day of employment.

The following article was written by Heidi Turner, www.lawyersandsettlements.com

Sacramento, CA: With Governor Jerry Brown signing a new California labor law, the state has now addressed issues about California labor issues in the temp industry. Although temps were already covered by some California labor codes, it was not always clear whether the temp agencies or the companies hiring the agencies were responsible for California labor violations.

California’s recently enacted paid sick leave law, the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Family Act of 2014 (hereinafter the “Act”), goes into effect on July 1, 2015. This Act provides that all employees who work in California for 30 or more days within a year are entitled to paid sick leave (PSL). Under the Act, paid sick leave accrues at the rate of 1 hour per every 30 hours worked, paid at the employee’s current rate of pay, and employees are entitled to up to 24 hours or 3 days of PSL per year.

Q: Who is Covered Under the Act?

The following was written by Jeff Elder and featured on The Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc. is now facing another class-action lawsuit from its workers, as 20,000 hourly wage employees claim the computer company didn’t give them lunch breaks, rest breaks or final paychecks in accordance with California law.

The suit over breaks and paychecks was certified as a class-action case Monday in California Superior Court after being filed originally in 2011. The hourly wage workers, who range from junior engineers to Apple Store employees and call-center representatives, argue Apple deliberately violated California wage and hour laws.

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