In an ongoing battle in the courts to define whether or not a compensation system for agricultural workers is a piece-rate system or an hourly plus bonus system, the California Supreme Court today has now been called on to review the previous decision of the Court of Appeal which had been favorable to employers. See the Petition for Review. As we previously reported here, the facts of this case are based on agricultural workers, who argued their employer did not properly compensate them separately for their earnings during rest periods and other non-productive time on days when it paid an hourly base plus a bonus. The employer called this hourly plus bonus compensation a “Group Production Incentive Bonus” (GPI).  On appeal, the workers argued that the GPI was actually a piece-rate wage, and the employer must have separate payments paid and identified on their paystubs for rest periods and other non-productive times to the workers.

On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-63-20, which extends certain procedural deadlines affecting employers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Any of the following deadlines that normally would have fallen within 60 days of the date of the Order (i.e., between May 8, 2020 and July 7, 2020) are extended by an additional 60 days:

On Wednesday, May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-62-20, which will make it easier for employees who contract COVID-19 during a specific time period to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

The Order establishes that employees working outside the home who test positive for COVID-19, are presumed, for purposes of workers’ compensation, to have contracted the disease in the course and scope of employment.  However, in order for the presumption to exist, all of the following are required:

The Ninth Circuit issued a decision last week that demonstrates just how important it is to have clear contract language in all agreements entered into with a union.  Sloppy drafting can lead, at best, to years of costly litigation just to determine what a contract says and, at worst, the opposite result of what an employer was contracting for.

The case involves NASA Services, Inc., a waste management company in Los Angeles (Employer), and the Teamsters Local 396 (Union).  The City of Los Angeles (City) required its waste management contractors to enter into Labor Peace Agreements (LPA) with the Union to prevent waste collection services from being disrupted by labor disputes such as picketing and work stoppages, etc. 

As of May 1, 2020, under second round of loans for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), California businesses have been approved for more loans (320,156) and total dollars ($33,221,857) than any other state. Many businesses that receive PPP loans face a situation in which they laid off employees prior to obtaining a PPP loan and now want to hire them back. The ratio of full-time employees that a borrower has on June 30 as compared to pre-COVID, as well as the per employee ratio of a borrower’s post loan payroll to its pre-loan payroll will affect the amount forgiven under a PPP loan.

The EEOC pulled some of its guidance on accommodating workers with medical conditions published 5/5 (cited in our e-blast from yesterday). The remaining published sections of the guidance are available here. This shift again highlights how difficult this process is to navigate for employers, and how critical it is to consult legal counsel.

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