New Legislations to Affect Californian Businesses as From Next Year

Legislative Branch

The California Chamber of Commerce recently published some laws that put Californian businesses on the spot. Some of the acts address issues surrounding unpaid parental leave and hiring among other workplace-related dynamics. While some of the laws are far-reaching, others are meant to slightly modify the existing ones while others affect players only in specific industries.

According to Senate Bill 63 (New Parent Leave Act), Californian businesses with 20 or more employees ought to provide them with 12 weeks to bond with a new child. The leave period will be unpaid for although employers need to reassure their workers that they are guaranteed of a job once the leave period elapses. Also, the law stipulates that the leave should be taken within one year of a child’s birth or adoption. As per the law, the leave is strictly for baby bonding and will not be taken for any other issues including family members’ medical emergencies. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson spearheaded the act.

Also, business owners especially those with five or more employees will no longer have the rights to inquire about a criminal history information of a job applicant as per Senate Bill 1008. They may not investigate the same at any point before they make a conditional offer for employment. The law protects job seekers from any discrimination they may face as a result of their past criminal offenses. The bill is not applicable for positions where a criminal background check is mandatory.

Bill AB 168 revokes the right of employers to seek information regarding a job applicant’s prior salary, compensation or benefits. The bill will discourage employers from relying on the previous salary of a job applicant to decide whether to hire them or not. Also, the legislation, according to experts, will narrow the pay gap between the male and the female genders.

As expected, business owners have mixed reactions concerning the new laws. David Houston, an employer in the hospitality industry, supports Senate Bill 63 as it is; however, he is worried that as time goes by, the bill will be tweaked in favor of employees. For example, he believes the law comes in the wake of legislators requiring the business owner to pay their workers while they are on a 12-week-leave. He also has reservations about Bill 1008. He wonders what will happen in case a business owner hires a criminal who commits a felony in the line of duty.