During the last California legislative session in the fall of 2017 a number of new labor laws were signed by the governor. Are you up to date?
Now that the new year has begun, numbers of new laws that were passed in 2017 are now in effect. California employers must now comply with these labor laws, a number of which deal with gender and immigrant worker issues.
Most of these laws became effective beginning January 1, 2018 with a few becoming effective later in the year, such as on July 1, for example.
A Variety of Compliance Issues for California Employers
One of the new California labor laws enacted this year, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, is expected to be particularly challenging for employers. The new law has added three new sections to the Government Code and two new sections to the Labor Code.
Previously under federal immigration law, if federal immigration authorities showed up at a workplace to conduct a work site inspection, an employer could allow authorities access to any non-public portions of their work site by requiring a judicial warrant or by voluntarily consenting to access.
The new law has now removed the option of granting “voluntarily consent” to ICE officials, or other immigration personnel. Instead, employers and those acting on behalf of employers are now prohibited from providing voluntary consent for access. Instead, the employer must insist on a judicial warrant.
In addition, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act mandates a number of new notification requirements for California employers.
1. Employers or their representatives must obtain warrants and subpoenas from federal immigration agents before granting them access to nonpublic areas of the work site or permitting them to inspect certain employee records.
2. Employers must provide their current employees with a notice of any inspection of I-9 forms, or other employment records, within 72 hours of receiving a notice of a scheduled inspection. Written notice must also be provided to any collective bargaining representative within this 72-hour time frame.
3. Upon "reasonable request" the employer must provide any affected employees with a copy of a Notice of Inspection of I-9 forms.
4. Employers must provide all affected employees and their authorized representative with a copy of a notice that provides the inspection results within 72 hours of the employer receiving them from ICE. In addition, they must provide a written notice of the obligations of the employer and the affected employee as a result of the inspection.
5. Any employer who fails to provide these required notices within the prescribed time frames is subject to civil penalties from the Labor Commissioner of $2,000 to $5,000 for a first violation, and up to $10,000 for each subsequent violation.
6. Employers are prohibited from re-verifying the employment eligibility of a current employee at a "time or in a manner not required by federal law". The Labor Commissioner is also authorized to recover civil penalties of up to $10,000 for these violations, as well.
Prepare for Labor Law Compliance
California employers will need to revise their policies and procedures in order to ensure compliance with the new law. In addition, training should be provided for supervisors and front-line staff on how to comply with the new requirements regarding judicial warrants and subpoenas.
As with all new California labor laws, it is highly recommended to have a documented policy in place on how to handle these situations if and when they occur. In addition, employers should ensure that all required notices are posted properly and within the applicable timelines.
Employers can, if they wish, obtain a copy of a template the California Labor Commissioner is required to make available by July 1, 2018.
New California Labor Laws Effective for 2018
A number of these new laws were highlighted in previous posts that can be seen here and here. In addition to these new employer requirements, an additional number of significant laws, including the next minimum wage increase, are illustrated in this infographic.
As always, employers should review these new obligations, set up a plan for compliance, and prepare for the subsequent enforcement of these new requirements.
Getting Professional Help with HR Compliance
An updated and streamlined reporting strategy will help your organization meet its obligations, while providing accuracy and timeliness. So take time to understand the new laws and prioritize accurate record keeping. In this way, you will make compliance a sure thing.
Another key step in maintaining HR compliance and increasing your company's cost-effectiveness is to consider outsourcing. A professional agency such as Accuchex can provide much-needed help with Human Resources needs and questions.
Accuchex is a full spectrum Payroll Management Services provider offering expertise in Time Management, Insurance and Retirement issues, as well. Call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.