Kern County Builders' Exchange News

Date ArticleType
6/18/2015 Legislation
Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory, Sick Leave, Laws you need to know

Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory as

Temperatures Rise across the State

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Also In This Update

  • California’s paid sick-leave law: what you should know
  • What Happened To Bills Set This Week?
  • Bills Set For Next Week

Cal/OSHA Issues High Heat Advisory

Cal/OSHA is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the risks associated with heat illness. Through next Monday, temperatures are expected to be 15 to 25 degrees above normal in Southern California. The National Weather Service forecasts excessive hot and dry weather patterns in Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties in particular. Northern California should be prepared for high heat as well.

“During times of sustained high heat, it is especially important that employers take the necessary steps to prevent heat illness for their outdoor workers,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Cal/OSHA is a division within DIR.

California’s heat illness prevention regulation, originally established in 2005, was amended effective May 1, 2015. The amendments clarify requirements related to the provision of water rest and shade protections for all outdoor workers, which are detailed in Cal/OSHA’s guidance on the new requirements. Employer requirements under the heat regulation include: 

  • Training for all employees and supervisors about heat illness prevention.
  • Provision of cool, fresh water as close as practicable to the work area at no cost to workers.
  • Shade provided whenever the temperature rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit and enough shade to accommodate the number of workers taking a break. 
  • Encouragement of employees on cool down rests and monitoring for symptoms of heat illness.
  • Acclimatization to ensure that workers, especially new employees, safely adapt to increased temperatures during a heat wave.

"Acclimatization is critical to the health of all employees during a heat wave and employees who are newly assigned to high heat areas,” said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “The workers must be closely observed to ensure that their bodies adjust properly to the heat.”

Special high heat procedures are also required when temperatures reach 95 degrees and workers are at greater risk. At these times, supervisors must take extra precautions:

  • Observe workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness.
  • Hold pre-shift meetings on safety and remind workers to drink water frequently.
  • Require that workers take a cool-down rest every two hours
  • Ensure effective communication systems are in place so that emergency assistance can be summoned immediately if necessary.

Cal/OSHA inspects worksites in outdoor industries such as agriculture, construction, landscaping, and others throughout the heat season. Through partnerships with various employer and worker organizations in different industries, Cal/OSHA also provides consultation, outreach and training on heat illness prevention. 

A variety of Heat Illness Prevention resources are available on the Cal/OSHA Heat Illness Prevention page, such as a webinar on requirements, a video tour of Cal/OSHA’s HIP materials and an updated Heat Illness Prevention e-tool. The Water. Rest. Shade. campaign website also features a variety of educational resources and fact sheets in multiple languages.

Cal/OSHA has a toll-free heat helpline in English and Spanish at 1-877-99-CALOR (1-877-992-2567), so that workers and the public can report workplace hazards at Cal/OSHA’s district offices, and employers can receive consultation assistance for their worksites.

California’s paid sick-leave law: what you should know

I reminded everyone last week that the new paid sick leave law takes effect on July 1, 2015.  The following article helps explain the law in much greater detail.  Although written for employees, it is very helpful:

 

California’s new paid sick-leave law takes effect July 1, but many people still have questions about its complex requirements.  An estimated 40 percent of California workers get no paid sick leave today; most will be covered by the new law.

 

Most employers that already offer paid sick leave provide more than the minimum number of days required under the new law.   But they will have to comply with new notice and record-keeping requirements and will have to cover part-time and temporary workers if they don’t already.

 

Under the Healthy Workplace, Healthy Families Act of 2014, employers must provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to any employee who works in California for at least 30 days within a year. 

 

There is no exemption for small employers. The law applies to full-time, part-time, temporary, salaried and hourly workers, including household employees.

 

The only exceptions are for employees covered by a union contract that provides comparable sick pay, In-Home Supportive Services employees, and airline flight deck or cabin crew employees who have equivalent benefits. The law does not apply to freelancers or independent contractors, but does cover temporary employees from a staffing agency.

Complex rates

What makes the law “mind-boggling” is the different rates that apply to the accrual, use and banking of sick leave, said Jacqueline Breslin, a director with TriNet of San Leandro, which provides benefits and payroll services to small and midsize companies.

 

As an employee, you will earn or accrue at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, starting July 1 or your first day of work, whichever is later. That works out to a little more than eight days per year for a full-time worker.

 

However, employers can limit your use of paid sick leave to 24 hours (three days) in one year.  Unused sick pay can be carried over to the next year, but employers can still limit you to three days per year and cap your sick-leave bank at 48 hours or six days.

Why can you earn more than you can use in a year? Presumably so that if you get sick early in the year, you have some days available.

 

Front-load option

Instead of the accrual method, employers can give all employees at least 24 hours (three days) of paid sick leave at the beginning of each year. Under this front-loading option, no accrual or carryover is required.

Breslin said that most Trinet clients are using the accrual method, even though it’s more complicated, because it aligns with their vacation accrual.

 

More rules

You must be in your job for at least 90 days before you can use sick leave. You will be paid for sick time at your regular hourly rate. If your pay varies, your employer will divide your total compensation for the previous 90 days by the number of hours worked and pay you that rate.

 

If you leave a job, your employer does not have to pay you for any unused sick days, as it does with vacation. But if you return to the same employer within 12 months, you can reclaim what you had in your sick-leave bank.

 

You can take paid leave for you or a family member for preventive care or treatment of an existing condition or to deal with stalking, domestic violence or sexual assault. Family includes your immediate family, as well as grandparents, grandchildren, siblings and parents-in-law. Your employer cannot require you to take more than two hours of paid leave at a time.

 

Employers must display a poster notifying employees of the sick leave law and give written notice of their rights when hired.

 

Keeping records

They must show how many days of sick leave an employee has available on a pay stub or document issued the same day as the paycheck. They must keep records showing how many hours have been earned and used for three years.

 

If an employer provides paid time off that can be used for vacation or sick leave, it does not have to provide additional sick leave as long as it provides at least 24 hours per year that can be used for health reasons.

 

Employers are free to provide more than the minimum requirement.

Advance notice

Workers must notify their employer in advance that they are taking sick leave, if foreseeable. They do not have to find someone to cover for them during their absence.

The law does not state whether employers can ask employees for a doctor’s note. In a webinar, the Department of Industrial Relations said that requiring documentation could interfere with an employee’s right to take leave and employers should “be cautious” about requesting it.

 

If an employee works in a city with its own sick-leave ordinance, the employer must comply with whichever provisions of each law are more generous to the employee. In Emeryville, for example, an employer also must allow sick leave to be used for the care of a guide or service dog.

 

Employers cannot deny an employee the right to use accrued sick days, discharge or threaten to discharge, demote or suspend them for using sick leave. Employers who violate the law are subject to significant penalties.

For more information, see www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/ab1522.html.

 

What Happened To Bills Set This Week?

As expected, both bills I reported on last week AB 1185, which would require a “skilled and trained workforce” and AB 1431, which would require project labor agreements to participate in Job Order Contracting projects, were approved in committee this week and are moving on.  For those opposed to these types of measures, it is going to be very tough to stop them.   Besides labors’ momentum, there is very limited contractor association opposition to any of the “skilled and trained workforce” bills; and, their opposition has nothing to do with this language as a matter of fact.  With that ‘tidbit, here’s a brief recap of what transpired this week:

 

AB 514 (Williams) Senate Com. on Governance & Finance -Ordinances: violations: fines. Postponed until July

Would eliminate fine amounts for violations of local building and safety code ordinances determined to be an infraction.

 

AB 1171   (Linder)   Senate Transportation - Construction Manager/General Contractor method: regional transportation agencies: projects on expressways.  Approved – On to Appropriations

Would authorize regional transportation agencies to use the Construction Manager/General Contractor project delivery method, as specified, to design and construct certain expressways that are not on the state highway system if the expressways are developed in accordance with an expenditure plan approved by voters as of January 1, 2014.

 

AB 1185   (Ridley-Thomas)   Senate Education - Los Angeles Unified School District: best value procurement: pilot program. Approved – On to Appropriations

Would establish a pilot program to authorize the Los Angeles Unified School District to use, before December 31, 2020, a best value procurement method for bid evaluation and selection for public projects that exceed $1,000,000 and require skilled and trained workforce.

AB 1431   (Gomez)  Senate Education - Local Agency Public Construction Act: job order contracting. Approved – On to Appropriations

This bill would authorize job order contracting in a similar manner for school districts other than LAUSD until January 1, 2022. The bill would restrict job order contracting pursuant to the bill to school districts that have entered into a project labor agreement or agreements, as defined, that will apply to all public works in excess of $25,000 undertaken by the school district through at least December 31, 2021, regardless of what contracting procedure is used to award that work.

 

 

Bills Set For Next Week

 

AB 251   (Levine)   Senate Appropriations- Public works: public subsidies.

Would provide that a public subsidy is de minimis if it is both less than $75,000 and less than 1% of the total project cost. The bill would specify that those provisions do not apply to a project that was advertised for bid, or a contract that was awarded, before January 1, 2016.

AB 305   (Gonzalez)  Senate Labor and Industrial Relations - Workers' compensation: permanent disability apportionment.

Would, under workers' compensation law, prohibit apportionment of permanent disability, in cases of physical injury, from being based on pregnancy, menopause, or osteoporosis causally related to menopause if the condition is contemporaneous with the claimed physical injury. The bill would also prohibit apportionment of permanent disability, in cases of psychiatric injury, from being based on psychiatric disability or impairment caused by sexual harassment, pregnancy, menopause, or osteoporosis causally related to menopause if the condition is contemporaneous with the claimed injury.

 

AB 578   (Low)  Senate Labor and Industrial Relations -  - Occupational safety and health.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 authorizes an employer to apply to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, that enforces employment safety laws, for a temporary order granting a variance from an occupational safety or health standard and requires the order to be granted only if the employer's application satisfies specified requirements. This bill would require an employer to also give notice to workers at the place of employment who will be affected by the temporary variance, or representatives of affected workers, who may be affected by or exposed to the hazards by the temporary variance from an occupational safety and health standard.

 

AB 622   (Hernández, Roger)  Senate Labor and Industrial Relations -  - Employment: E-Verify system: unlawful business practices.

Would expand the definition of an unlawful employment practice to prohibit an employer or any other person or entity from using the E-Verify system to check the employment authorization status of an existing employee or an applicant who has not received an offer of employment, except as required by federal law or as a condition of receiving federal funds. The bill would also require an employer that uses the E-Verify system to provide to the affected employee any notification issued by the Social Security Administration or the United States Department of Homeland Security containing information specific to the employee's E-Verify case or any tentative no confirmation notice.

 

AB 676   (Calderon)   Senate Labor and Industrial Relations - Employment: discrimination: status as unemployed.

Would prohibit an employer or employment agency from asking an applicant for employment to disclose, orally or in writing, information concerning the applicant’s current employment status, except as specified. The bill would prohibit an employer, an employment agency, or a person operating an Internet Web site for posting jobs from interfering with, or discriminating against, a person exercising these rights.

 

AB 970   (Nazarian)   Senate Appropriations - Labor Commissioner: enforcement of employee claims.

Would authorize the Labor Commissioner to enforce local laws regarding overtime hours or minimum wage provisions and to issue citations and penalties for violations, except when the local entity with jurisdiction in the matter has already issued a citation or has initiated an investigation against an employer for the same violation.

 

 

 

AB 987   (Levine)   Senate Appropriations - Employment discrimination: unlawful employment practices.

Would prohibit an employer or other covered entity from retaliating or otherwise discriminating against a person for requesting accommodation of his or her disability or religious beliefs, regardless of whether the accommodation request was granted.

 

AB 1017   (Campos)   Senate Labor and Industrial Relations  - Employers.

Would prohibit an employer from seeking salary history information from an applicant for employment and from releasing the salary history of any current or former employee without written authorization from the current or former employee.

 

AB 1308   (Perea) Senate Appropriations - Apprenticeship programs: approval.

Would revise specified conditions for when the apprentice training needs in the building and construction trades justify a new apprentice program. This bill would also remove the authority of the California Apprenticeship Council to approve a new apprenticeship program justified by special circumstances by regulation.

 

AB 1508   (Hernández, Roger)   Senate Business and Profession - Underground economy: policy adviser.

Would require the Governor to designate an independent chief policy adviser for the underground economy. The bill would prescribe the adviser's duties, which would include monitoring the state's existing underground economy task forces and interagency partnerships to ensure that they are organized efficiently and evaluating whether any task forces and partnerships should be eliminated or restructured to improve effectiveness. The bill would require the adviser, on or before January 1, 2017, to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature that summarizes the adviser's findings and recommendations, with a focus on recommended administrative or legislative changes.

 

SB 560   (Monning)   Senate Business and Profession - - Contractors.

This bill would authorize the CSLB to enforce the obligation to secure the payment of valid and current workers' compensation insurance by all contractors employing employees

 

SB 561   (Monning)   Senate Business and Profession - - Home improvement salespersons.

Current law provides for the registration and regulation of home improvement salespersons by the Contractors' State License Board. This bill would provide that such a salesperson is a person who is registered and engaged in the business of soliciting, selling, negotiating, or executing contracts for home improvements, for the sale, installation or furnishing of home improvement goods or services, or of swimming pools , spas, or hot tubs. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.