FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR # 96-27
Monday, June 10, 1996
AB 1961 Before Senate Industrial Relations Committee;
Assembly Bill 1961 (House), which will allow the Industrial Welfare Commission
to improve its communications with the public and cut certain costs for
unnecessary expenses, is slated for a vote on Wednesday, June 12, before
the Senate Industrial Relations Committee.
"The Senate Industrial Relations Committee will have an opportunity
to help the IWC streamline its mandated communications to California's employees
and employers," said Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr., director of the Department
of Industrial Relations. "This is an important piece of legislation
that will cut costs and enable the Industrial Welfare Commission to inform
California workers, in plain language, of the basic laws governing wages,
hours and working conditions."
Under current law employers must post Industrial Welfare Commission orders
conspicuously in their place of employment. The intent of this law has
been to enable employees and employers to have on-site access to information
about the laws governing wages, hours and working conditions for their place
of employment. The posters are multi-page documents which must, under current
law, contain the exact language of regulations adopted by the IWC and a
"statement as to the basis" explaining why these regulations were
adopted. The language is complex and not readily understood by the average
worker and employer. In contrast, the federal government currently requires
employers to post a summary of employers obligations and employees rights
under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
"This complexity has long been the subject of criticism by California
employers and employees," Aubry said. "AB 1961, would allow for
simplification and reduction of the language contained in the posters and
should therefore result in better understanding of the laws by the people
who are affected by them." The IWC orders in technical language would
still be available upon request by anyone who desires a copy.
In addition to the obvious communication benefit, the Industrial Welfare
Commission estimates that AB 1961, which is sponsored by the Department
of Industrial Relations, will reduce the cost of producing these documents
by approximately one-half and eliminate other costly and unnecessary bureaucratic
expenses as well.
"AB 1961 makes good sense," Aubry noted. " It is the type
of legislation that should benefit from bipartisan support. However, similar
non-controversial legislation has passed the Assembly in the past, but received
a chilly reception with the Senate. Accordingly, its fate before the Industrial
Relations Committee remains uncertain."
"By supporting AB 1961," Aubry said, "the Senate will help
improve the awareness of working men and women throughout the state of the
laws that affect them. Failure to support this bill," he said, "will
prove a costly mistake for government and citizens alike."
Hearings on the proposed legislation begin at 9:30 a.m. at the State Capitol,
Editors note: Members of the Senate Industrial Relations Committee
are (Chair) Hilda Solis, D-El Monte; (Vice-Chair) Richard Mountjoy, R-Arcadia;
Herschel Rosenthal, D-North Hollywood; Milton Marks, D-San Francisco, Bill
Leonard, R-Upland, Nicholas Petris, D-Oakland.