California Department of Industrial Relations
DIR administers and enforces laws governing tax wages, hours and breaks, overtime, retaliation, workplace safety and health
By Chris Micheli, April 8, 2023 7:20 am
Labor Code Division 1 established the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) in 1927 in Sections 50 to 176. According to its website, DIR strives to build a safe and fair workplace and a thriving economy. DIR administers and enforces laws governing tax 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 laws in the underground economy.
Chapter 1 sets forth its general powers and duties. Section 50 provides that there is in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency the Department of Industrial Relations. Section 50.5 provides that one of the functions of the DIR is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of California, to improve their working conditions, and to advance their opportunities for profitable employment.
Division 1, Chapter 1 sets forth general powers and duties. Section 50.7 provides that the DIR is the state agency designated to be responsible for administering the state plan for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards relating to issues covered by corresponding standards promulgated under the federal OSHA.
Section 50.8 requires the DIR to develop a long-range program for upgrading and expanding the resources of the State of California in the area of occupational health and medicine. This also requires a contractual agreement with the University of California for the creation of occupational health centers, one in the south and one in the north, affiliated with regional schools of medicine and public health.
Section 50.9 authorizes the DIR Director to comment on the impact of actions or projects proposed by public agencies on opportunities for profitable employment. Section 51 requires the DIR to be under the control of an executive officer known as Director of Industrial Relations., who is appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and hold office at the pleasure of the Governor and receive an annual salary.
Section 54 requires the DIR Director to perform all duties, exercise all powers and jurisdiction, assume and discharge all responsibilities, and carry out and effect all purposes vested by law in the DIR. Section 54.5 allows the DIR Director to appoint an attorney and assistants licensed to practice law in this state.
Section 55 requires the Director to organize the DIR subject to the approval of the Governor, in the manner he or she deems necessary properly to segregate and conduct the work of the DIR. Section 56 requires the DIR to be divided into at least five divisions known as the Division of Workers’ Compensation, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, and the State Compensation Insurance Fund.
Section 57.1 specifies the Chief of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and all officers or employees of the Division. Section 58 requires the DIR to have possession and control of all records, books, papers, offices, equipment, supplies, moneys, funds, appropriations, land, and other property, real or personal, held for the benefit or use of all commissions, divisions, and offices of the DIR.
Section 60.7 provides that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health has possession and control of all records, books, papers, offices, equipment, supplies, moneys, funds, appropriations, land, licenses, permits, agreements, contracts, claims, judgments, and other property, real or personal, held for the benefit or use of the Division of Industrial Safety and the Occupational Health Branch of the State Department of Health Services.
Section 60.9 establishes within the Division of Occupational Safety and Health an occupational health unit and an occupational safety unit, which assist in the performance of occupational health functions and occupational safety functions, respectively, assigned to the division by law.
Section 62.5 created the Workers’ Compensation Administration Revolving Fund as a special account in the State Treasury. Money in the fund may be expended by the DIR, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for specified purposes, and may not be used or borrowed for any other purpose. It addition, this code section created the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund as a special trust fund account in the State Treasury, of which the director is trustee. The fund is continuously appropriated for the payment of non-administrative expenses of the workers’ compensation program for workers injured while employed by uninsured employers.
And, this code section created the Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund as a special trust fund account in the State Treasury, of which the director is trustee, for the non-administrative expenses of the workers’ compensation program for workers who have suffered serious injury and who are suffering from previous and serious permanent disabilities or physical impairments.
There is also the Occupational Safety and Health Fund created as a special account in the State Treasury. Moneys in the account may be expended by the DIR, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for support of the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, and the Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board, and the activities these entities perform. Moreover, the Labor Enforcement and Compliance Fund was created as a special account in the State Treasury. Moneys in the fund may be expended by the DIR, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the support of the activities that the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
Section 62.6 requires the DIR Director to levy and collect assessments from all employers, as necessary, to collect the aggregate amount determined by the Fraud Assessment Commission. Revenues derived from the assessments are to be deposited in the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Account in the Insurance Fund and are only expended, upon appropriation by the Legislature, for the investigation and prosecution of workers’ compensation fraud and the willful failure to secure payment of workers’ compensation. The total amount of the assessment is to be allocated between self-insured employers and insured employers in proportion to payroll respectively paid in the most recent year for which payroll information is available.
Section 64 authorizes the Labor Commissioner to enter into reciprocal agreements with the labor department or corresponding agency of any other state or with the person, board, officer, or commission authorized to act for and on behalf of that department or agency, for the collection in that other state of claims or judgments for wages and other demands based upon claims previously assigned to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
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