The California Chamber of Commerce recently published its annual Job Killer list of bad legislation, many of which have been highlighted by the Globe. Bills make the list if they would place California employers and the state’s economy in harm’s way should they become law.
Their 2021 Job Killer list is long. As Cal Chamber explains, “Of particular concern, according to CalChamber, are proposed labor and employment mandates which would hit small business employers especially hard as they attempt to recover from losses experienced due to pandemic-related shutdowns.”
“Many of these bills—particularly the labor and employment ones—seem to be solutions in search of a problem,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg.
For the businesses which managed to survive California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s year+ long lockdown and are teetering on the edge of a precipice, many of these bills could issue the final blow – higher taxes, mandatory paid leave expansion, or increased workers compensation costs.
Here are a some of the bills:
Labor and Employment Mandates
AB 616 (Stone; D-Scotts Valley) Forced Unionization Process for Agricultural Employees: Limits an employee’s ability to independently and privately vote for unionization in the workplace, by essentially eliminating a secret ballot election and replacing it with the submission of representation cards signed by over 50% of the employees.
AB 995 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Costly Sick Leave Expansion on All Employers: Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by expanding the number of paid sick days employers are required to provide, which is in addition to all of the recently enacted leave mandates (COVID-19 sick leave, CalOSHA emergency paid time off, CFRA leave, workers’ compensation, etc.) that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
AB 95 (Low; D-Campbell) Burdensome New Bereavement Leave Mandate: Imposes a significant new burden on employers of every size by mandating that they provide employees bereavement leave upon the death of a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, or domestic partner, regardless of how long the employee has worked for the employer.
AB 1041 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Significant Expansion of Family Leave and Paid Sick Leave: Significantly expands multiple existing leave requirements in California that apply to employers of five or more, including small employers with limited employee.
AB 1074 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego) Onerous Return to Work Mandate: Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, which will delay rehiring and employers’ ability to re-open after being forced to close or reduce operations due to COVID-19.
SB 213 (Cortese; D-San Jose) Expands Costly Presumption of Injury: Significantly increases workers’ compensation costs for public and private hospitals by presuming certain diseases and injuries are caused by the workplace and establishes an extremely concerning precedent for expanding presumptions into the private sector.
AB 71 (Rivas, L; D-Arleta) Massive Corporate Tax Increase: Significantly increases the state’s corporate tax rate and taxation on the gross income of international companies to create a homelessness fund, thereby shifting the responsibility of the crisis onto the private sector, despite the $15 billion dollars in unexpected revenue.
AB 1199 (Gipson; D-Carson) Targeted Tax on Homeowners: Unfairly imposes an excise tax on certain individual and corporate homeowners to pay for housing related services.
AB 1400 (Kalra; D-San Jose) Government-Run Health Care: Eliminates private insurance.
AB 1295 (Muratsuchi; D-Torrance) Housing Development Ban: Removes local land use authority and exacerbates the housing crisis by prohibiting cities and counties from entering into a residential development agreement in Very High Fire Severity Zones, which strips local communities of their land use authority and applies a one-size-fits all ban on development throughout large swaths of California.
SB 55 (Stern; D-Canoga Park) Housing Development Ban: Removes local land use authority by prohibiting any residential or commercial construction in either Very High Fire Severity Zones or State Responsibility Area, which effectively bans development activity in 1/3 of the state of California and will exacerbate the existing housing crisis.
SB 499 (Leyva; D-Chino) Housing Development Ban: Prohibits cities and counties from designating any land uses that have potential to adversely impact disadvantaged communities.
Government Regulation and Enforcement
SB 606 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Expansion of Cal/OSHA Authority and Enforcement: Significantly expands CalOSHA authority by allowing it to multiply penalties potentially by 10x or 100x against employers, and shut down facilities that it has not even physically inspected.
SB 467 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) Oil and Gas Development Ban: Eliminates thousands of high-paying California jobs and requires California to import even more foreign oil by shutting down approximately 95% of oil and gas production in California.
See the entire list here.