State of California
Department of Industrial Relations

Chuck Cake, acting director

P. O. Box 420603
San Francisco, CA 94142

Compiled by:
Legislative Affairs Unit
770 L Street, Suite 1160
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 324-4163


Click here for 2002 Legislative Summary


Assembly Bills
Bill no. Author Chapter Subject
AB 14 Horton, Jerome 03-889 Public contracts: job order contracting
AB 98 Koretz 03-327 Employment: meals and rest periods
AB 149 Cohn 03-831 Worker's compensation: asbestosis
AB 199 Oropeza 03-833 Public transit: employer-employee relations
AB 223 Diaz 03-093 Employment
AB 226 Vargas 03-328 Life insurance: corporate-owned policies
AB 227 Vargas 03-635 Workers' compensation
AB 274 Koretz Vetoed Employment
AB 276 Koretz 03-329 Penalties for Labor Code violations
AB 324 Diaz 03-834 Public works: labor compliance programs
AB 330 Parra 03-207 Working conditions
AB 457 McLeod, Negrete Vetoed Public employees' retirement: early retirement incentives
AB 544 Montanez 03-759 Contractor: temporary labor
AB 643 Mullin Vetoed Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board
AB 807 Leno 03-839 Public works: prevailing wage
AB 852 Lieber 03-343 Prevailing rate of per diem wages: determinations
AB 933 Reyes 03-840 Law enforcement officers: special death benefits
AB 1028 Bermudez 03-842 California Apprenticeship Council
AB 1093 Lieber Vetoed Living wage
AB 1099 McLeod, Negrete 03-636 Insurance: fraud: information
AB 1132 Koretz 03-214 Employment
AB 1133 Koretz Vetoed Employment
AB 1262 Matthews 03-637 Workers' compensation: claims adjusters
AB 1418 Laird 03-849 Labor: violations
AB 1506 McLeod, Negrete 03-851 Public works: projects funded by bonds: prevailing wage
AB 1536 Goldberg 03-447 Discrimination
AB 1538 Berg 03-118 Construction contractors
AB 1557 Vargas 03-638 Workers' compensation
AB 1688 Goldberg 03-825 Car washes
AB 1715 Comm on Jud. Vetoed Employment arbitration agreements
AB 1719 Comm on L&E 03-884 Employment

Senate Bills

Bill no.AuthorChapterSubject
SB 2Burton 03-673 Health care coverage
SB 125Chesbro Vetoed WC: leave of absence for disability: welfare fraud investigators
SB 158Alarcon 03-103 Displaced public transit employees
SB 176Johnson 03-121 WC insurance: classification: notice
SB 179Alarcon 03-908 Contracts for labor or services
SB 210Burton 03-667 Minors: artistic employment contracts
SB 228Alarcon 03-639 Workers' compensation
SB 478Dunn 03-630 Victims of crime: work absences for judicial proceedings
SB 578Alarcon 03-711 Public contracts: sweatshop labor
SB 777Escutia 03-484 Whistleblowers
SB 796Dunn 03-906 Employment
SB 868Dunn 03-905 Prevailing wages
SB 966Alarcon 03-804 Public works and prevailing wages: contractors costs
SB 1007Speier 03-641 WC: insurance policies

Wages, hours and labor standards

AB 98     Koretz      Employment: meals and rest periods
Chapter 327, Statutes of 2003

This bill clarifies the IWC's existing authority to adopt or amend the wage order pertaining to commercial motor vehicle operation to exempt employees covered by valid collective bargaining agreements from provisions of the wage order relating to meal and rest periods.

AB 223          Diaz      Employment
Chapter 93, Statutes of 2003

This bill specifies that the party that unsuccessfully appeals the administrative decision of the Labor Commissioner to a trial court may be assessed the costs and reasonable attorney's fees connected with that appeal.

AB 276     Koretz     Penalties for Labor Code violations
Chapter 329, Statutes of 2003

This bill increases the amounts of monetary penalties for a variety of labor law violations and provides that 12.5 percent of the penalty amounts collected be directed to a fund within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to be used for the purpose of educating employers about state labor laws.

AB 330     Parra     Working conditions
    Chapter 207, Statutes of 2003

This bill exempts certain employees from the meal period requirement in the wholesale baking industry who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that contains specified terms for meal periods and breaks.

AB 1132     Koretz     Employment
Chapter 214, Statutes of 2003

This bill amends the statute governing the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement's confiscation and appeal procedures for articles illegally manufactured in a home in violation of the Industrial Homework Act and associated regulations. Specifically, this bill prohibits confiscated materials from being sold, permits their expeditious destruction when the action is uncontested and provides that a person may appeal the confiscation in an administrative process provided by the Labor Commissioner.

AB 1418     Laird     Labor: violations
Chapter 849, Statutes of 2003

This bill sets minimum mandatory monetary penalties for contractors or subcontractors that fail to pay prevailing wage rates on public works projects. The bill also requires the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to post on its Website information provided by the Labor Commissioner on willful or deliberate Labor Code violations committed by CSLB licensees in the course of licensed activities.

AB 1688     Goldberg     Car washes
Chapter 825, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires employers of car washers to register with the Labor Commissioner and pay a $300 registration fee. This bill regulates the industry of car washing and polishing by providing specific record-keeping requirements that employers of car washers must implement with regard to car washer wages, hours and working conditions. Provisions in the bill expire on Jan. 1, 2007.

SB 158     Alarcon     Displaced public transit employees
Chapter 103, Statutes of 2003

This bill establishes a bidding preference for public transit service contractors and subcontractors who agree to retain, for a period of at least 90 days, certain employees who were employed to perform essentially the same services by the previous contractor or subcontractor. This bill provides that if a successor contractor or subcontractor determines that fewer employees are needed than under the prior contract, qualified employees shall be retained by seniority within the job classification.

SB 210    Burton     Minors: artistic employment contracts
Chapter 667, Statutes of 2003

This bill amends existing law applicable to employment contracts of unemancipated minors who provide artistic or creative services or sports performances. Chief among the requirements of the Coogan Law is the requirement for 15 percent of a minor's earnings under such a contract to be set aside in a special trust or savings account (Coogan Trust Account). This bill provides the entertainment work permit required for all child entertainers and issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement will become void after 10 days if the trustee's statement that a Coogan Trust Account has been established is not attached.

SB 478     Dunn     Victims of crime: work absences for judicial proceedings
Chapter 630, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires that an employer allow an employee who is a victim of a crime, as defined, or certain persons who are related to a crime victim, to be absent from work in order to attend judicial proceedings related to the crime. It prohibits an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating against an employee because the employee is absent from work and would authorize the employee to file a complaint with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Lastly, this bill encourages district attorneys and victim/witness offices to make information regarding this bill available for distribution at their offices.

SB 578     Alarcon     Public contracts: sweatshop labor
Chapter 711, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires state agencies to provide in every contract for procurement of equipment, materials, or supplies, other than procurement related to a public works contract, that the contractor certify laundering of apparel, garments, corresponding accessories, materials or supplies were not produced by forced labor, convict labor, indentured labor, abusive forms of child labor or exploitation of children in sweatshop labor (a Sweatfree Code of Conduct as defined).

SB 796     Dunn     Employment
Chapter 906, Statutes of 2003

This bill enacts the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 for enforcement of the Labor Code and states that aggrieved employees are allowed to bring civil actions to recover penalties for any alleged violation of the Labor Code that the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) does not act upon. Any penalties collected would be distributed amongst the General Fund (50 percent), LWDA (25 percent) and the aggrieved employee (25 percent). This bill would not affect exclusive remedy under workers' compensation.

Wages, hours and labor standards

AB 274     Koretz     Employment

The bill creates a rebuttable presumption that if an employer discharges, demotes, suspends or reduces the hours of an employee within 60 days after the employee exercised his or her rights under the Labor Code, the employer's action was retaliatory. The rebuttable presumption does not apply if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence the employee has fabricated a retaliatory claim to forestall an adverse action.

In his veto message, the Governor stated:

"…This bill could allow any employee who suspects the possibility of an adverse action to stall that action by fabricating a complaint. It would also make it difficult for a supervisor to legitimately discipline a problem employee who has exercised any right given under the Labor Code. This bill would create a burden on employers who would constantly have to defend any disciplinary action taken. Lastly, AB 274 has the potential to pre-empt a collective bargaining agreement's grievance procedures, and could interfere with the ability for the parties to negotiate a settlement.

"This bill is similar to AB 2990 which I vetoed last session. While this bill attempts to address the concerns of AB 2990, it still conflicts with the presumption of innocence until proven guilty."

AB 1093     Lieber     Living wage

This bill establishes a living wage to be paid to employees of the state and specified service contractors and subcontractors doing business with state government. This bill exempts specified employees and contracts. This bill also allows for the enforcement of its provisions through DIR.

The Governor states in his veto message:

"…Although I support the concept of higher wages for workers, this bill would:

· Result in increased General Fund costs that are not included in the Budget Act of 2003;
· Increase contracting costs for all state departments at a time when they can least afford it;
· Reduce competition for state contracts, thereby driving up costs and limiting the types of solutions available to state agencies;
· Raise policy concerns about the appropriateness of paying a living wage to high school and college students, who work part time for the state and who are presumably not independent wage earners;
· In addition, it is not clear which state entity, the Department of Finance or the Department of Industrial Relations, would be responsible for adjusting the wage annually, nor under what circumstances the CCPI would be discarded in favor of an "adequate living wage standard" as determined by DIR.

"In light of the State's current economic condition, I am hesitant to sign this measure at this time and would hope the next Administration reconsiders this proposal in better economic times."

AB 1133    Koretz     Employment

This bill provides that if a judgment for unpaid wages or penalties remains unsatisfied for six months after the judgment becomes final, a penalty equal to the amount of the judgment is applied. This penalty is then applied every six months the judgment remains unsatisfied, up to a maximum of four times.

The Governor states in his veto message:

"…This bill is intended to encourage employers to promptly satisfy judgments entered against them by the Labor Commissioners Office. However, existing law already provides that interest on judgments accrues at a rate of 10 percent per annum on the principal amount of a judgment, which remains unsatisfied.

"I applaud the author for his efforts to ensure prompt payment of unpaid wages and any associated penalties. While the current 10 percent per annum rate on a judgment may not be a sufficient penalty, potentially doubling a judgment 240 percent in a two-year period is excessive. I encourage the Legislature to find a more appropriate penalty scheme."

Workers' compensation

AB 149     Cohn     Workers' compensation: asbestosis
Chapter 831, Statutes of 2003

This bill extends the statute of limitations for workers' compensation death benefits in the case of firefighters whose death results from asbestosis to one year.

AB 227     Vargas     Workers' compensation
Chapter 635, Statutes of 2003

This bill is one of two major components of a package of workers' compensation reform bills passed this session. Essentially, AB 227 makes various changes to provisions concerning workers' compensation including: changes to the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA); increasing fine for committing fraud in obtaining or denying compensation from $50,000 to $150,000; expanding group insurance for manufacturing facilities; making various changes to the Insurance Commissioner's responsibilities; providing State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) with exemptions from hiring freezes and staff cutbacks; providing for 100 percent user funding for the Division of Workers Compensation (DWC); requiring the Commission on Health Safety and Workers Compensation (CHSWC) to undertake a study on the feasibility of reinstitution of insurance rate regulation; repealing vocational rehabilitation; creating a Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit.

AB 933     Reyes     Law enforcement officers: special death benefits
Chapter 840, Statutes of 2003

This bill expands the definition of "child" for purposes of special death benefits payable to surviving children of a patrol, state peace officer/firefighter, state safety, state industrial, or local safety member of a public retirement system whose death was industrial, to include step-children.

AB 1099    Negrete-McLeod     Insurance: fraud: investigation
Chapter 636, Statutes 2003

This bill adds the Employment Development Department (EDD) among the agencies authorized to request and receive information regarding workers' compensation fraud and the Workers' Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) as an entity required to provide information upon a request from an authorized governmental agency.

AB 1262     Matthews     Workers' compensation: claims adjusters
Chapter 637, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires insurance carriers, third party administrators and self-insured employers or their contract bill review or adjusting entities to certify that their workers' compensation claims adjusters meet minimum competency standards to be established by the Department of Insurance (CDI).

AB 1557 Vargas     Workers' compensation
Chapter 638, Statutes of 2003

This bill provides that an employee shall not be entitled to an increase in workers' compensation for unreasonable delay in the provision of medical treatment for periods of time necessary to complete the utilization review process as required by SB 228 (Alarcon).

SB 176     Johnson     Workers' compensation insurance: classification: notice
Chapter 121, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires a workers' compensation rating organization to notify a policyholder if it imposes a change in the classification assignment of the policyholder. It also provides that a rating organization may satisfy this requirement by furnishing the policyholder with a copy of the notice it provides to the insurer.

SB 228     Alarcon     Workers' compensation
Chapter 639, Statutes of 2003

This bill is one of two major components of a package of workers' compensation reform bills passed this session. SB 228 makes various changes to provisions concerning workers' compensation. The bill eliminates the Industrial Medical Council (IMC); establishes a five-year term for the WC Court Administrator; institutes a medical provider lien filing fee and development of a utilization schedule; repeals treating physician's presumption of correctness; sets caps on chiropractic and physical therapy treatments; reqires utilization review with HMO-like utilization management tools; establishes a three-year pilot for an independent second opinion/independent medical review (IMR) process for recommendations for spinal surgery; treatment protocols admissible before the WCAB; prohibits self-referral by doctors to outpatient surgery centers; expands use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures to combat medical billing fraud; requires greater use of generic drugs; sets new pharmaceutical fee schedule; sets procedures for prompt payment of medical fees; creates a new fee schedule for inpatient and outpatient facilities based on the Medicare fee plus 20 percent; requires an access to care study/AD (administrative director) authorization; clarifies the cost of implants and other medical hardware until the AD adopts a new fee schedule; requires insurer review of employer's injury and illness prevention plan (IIPP); and requires the Insurance Commissioner to report to the Legislature.

SB 1007     Speier     Workers' compensation
Chapter 641, Statutes of 2001

This bill expands the definition of "common trade or business" for purposes of an employer's ability to purchase group workers' compensation insurance to include specified types of manufacturing facilities engaged in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products.

Workers' compensation

SB 125     Chesbro     WC: leave of absence: welfare fraud investigators

This bill would have extended disability and leave of absence benefits in lieu of workers' compensation benefits to employees of county welfare fraud investigators and inspectors who have peace officer status and specified county coroners and deputy coroners.

In his veto message, the Governor states:

"…The costs could be significant to counties at a time when the State is trying to reduce costs" and "the Commission on Health, Safety, and Workers' Compensation is currently studying the impact of '4850' benefits and its impact on local governments; therefore, it is prudent to await results of this study prior to expanding these benefits."

Public works and prevailing wages

AB 324     Diaz     Public works: labor compliance programs
Chapter 834, Statutes of 2003

This bill codifies current state regulations requiring a labor compliance program (LCP) be approved by the director of Industrial Relations, modifies the formula that provides reimbursement for costs associated with LCP's and removes the requirement that grant amounts be made on a per pupil basis.

AB 807     Leno     Public works: prevailing wage
Chapter 839, Statutes of 2003

This bill provides that an employer may only credit pension or other contributions against their prevailing wage obligations when the employer makes such contributions on no less than a quarterly basis.

AB 852     Lieber     Prevailing rate of per diem wages: determinations
Chapter 343, Statutes of 2003

This bill establishes a mechanism for the determination of prevailing wage rates on non-public works projects in which a public and private entity voluntarily agree by contract that the employees will receive prevailing wage.

AB 1506     Negrete-McLeod     Public works: projects funded by bonds
Chapter 851, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires a labor compliance program (LCP) for a public works project financed in any part with funds made available by the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century (Act), if passed by the voters in November 2004. This bill would also provide that the Department of Industrial Relations' and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency's public works services are to be supported as costs of a state agency with responsibility for administration of the bond program, or costs of construction, as provided.

SB 868     Dunn     Prevailing wages
Chapter 905, Statutes of 2003

This bill revises the definition of per diem wages to include worker protection and assistance programs or committees, and industry advancement and collective bargaining administrative fees.

SB 966     Alarcon     Public works and prevailing wages: contractors' costs
Chapter 804, Statutes of 2003

This bill authorizes a contractor to bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover from an awarding body specified labor costs, penalties and legal fess if certain conditions are met.
Apprenticeship standards

AB 1028     Bermudez     California Apprenticeship Council
Chapter 842, Statutes of 2003

Existing law, repealed Jan. 1, 2003, authorized the California Apprenticeship Council to adopt statewide industry-specific training criteria for use by apprenticeship programs in their respective industries. AB 1028 would re-enact this authority of the Council and extend it until Jan. 1, 2007, at which time it would be repealed.

Occupational safety and health

AB 1719     Committee on Labor and Employment     Employment
Chapter 884, Statutes of 2003

This bill strengthens the notification and reporting requirements in existing law regarding complaints filed with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, allows for extension of the deadline for the electrician certification program by the California Apprenticeship Council and specifies the organization authorized to establish an alternative dispute resolution procedure for licensed jockeys. This bill also makes technical, clarifying changes to the overtime exemption for licensed physicians to make the language consistent with other existing language.

Occupational safety and health

AB 643     Mullin     Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board

The bill states the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB) members may continue to serve on the Board after their terms of office expire, until reappointment, a successor is appointed, or 60 days pass, whichever occurs first. It specifies that the Board's labor representatives must be from organized labor; the manner in which appointments to the Board may be legally challenged; and the bill requires the Governor to fill vacancies by appointment to unexpired terms. The bill also specifies that if the Governor fails to act, appointments to an even number of vacancies will be divided between the Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the Assembly and an odd number will be decided jointly.

The Governor stated in his veto message:

"…I am vetoing this bill because it would interfere with the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government. "

Other legislation affecting employment

AB 14     Horton, J.     Public contracts: job order contracting
Chapter 889, Statutes of 2003

This bill authorizes the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to engage in "job order contracting" (JOC) as an alternative to traditional competitive bidding for the delivery of public works projects. The bill allows the LAUSD to implement job order contracting for single contracts of less than $1 million dollars, and no single job order could exceed $5 million dollars in the first term, or $10 million dollars if the contract is extended.

AB 199     Oropeza     Public transit: employer-employee relations
Chapter 833, Statutes of 2003

This bill establishes the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Transit Employer-Employee Relations Act, governing employee relations for supervisor employees in MTA, creates a comprehensive statute governing employer-employee relations for supervisors employed by the MTA, which clearly delineates their rights, and creates an administrative procedure under the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to resolve labor disputes, such as unfair practice charges, for supervisors employed by the MTA.

AB 226     Vargas     Life insurance: corporate owned policies
Chapter 328, Statutes of 2003

This bill modifies the definition of "insurable interest" so that it would prohibit the issuance of corporate-owned life insurance policies (COLIs) on non-exempt employees.

AB 544     Montanez     Contractors: temporary labor
Chapter 759, Statutes of 2003

This bill expands the definition of "contractor" in the Business & Professions Code to include temporary labor services agencies that provide employees for the performance of construction work.

AB 1536     Goldberg     Discrimination
Chapter 447, Statutes of 2003

This bill amends specified procedures under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

AB 1538     Berg     Construction contractors
Chapter 118, Statutes of 2003

This bill requires all contractors to display his or her contractor's license number and business in or on each commercially registered vehicle used in his or her construction business. It also exempts those contractors already covered by similar requirements in current law.

SB 2     Burton     Health care coverage
Chapter 673, Statutes of 2003

This bill enacts the Health Insurance Act of 2003 to provide health coverage to specified individuals who do not receive job-based coverage and who work for large and medium employers, as defined. This bill imposes a fee on employers who do not provide the defined benefits and make available a credit against that fee for employers who do provide coverage.

SB 179     Alarcon     Contracts for labor or services
Chapter 908, Statutes of 2003

This bill provides that any person or entity that enters into specified contracts for labor or services, that knows or should know that the contract does not provide sufficient funds to comply with various laws, violates state law.

SB 777     Escutia     Whistleblowers
Chapter 484, Statutes of 2003

This bill provides additional "whistleblower" protections for refusal to perform unlawful conduct and for an employee's acts on a previous job. This bill requires the State Attorney General to maintain a whistleblower hotline for corporate crime and regulatory misconduct and to refer calls to the appropriate investigative or regulatory agency.

Other legislation affecting employment

AB 457    Negrete-McLeod     Public employees' retirement: early retirement incentive

This bill would have provided early retirement incentives for state, local, and school employees who are members of California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS). It would have provided an additional two years of service and two years of age (2+2) for members retiring within a specified time period to be designated by the director of the Department of Finance.

In his veto message, the Governor stated:

"…While this bill contains many safeguards, including requirements that the incentive is bargained for and that cost savings must result, there is still a very real potential that public employers will be paying to encourage retirements that would have occurred even without that incentive. Further the existence of a retirement incentive program such as a "Golden Handshake" has the unintended consequence of delaying rather than encouraging timely retirements; specifically, employees who normally would retire delay that retirement awaiting the implementation of a Golden Handshake.

"At any rate, I have already signed AB 719 and AB 55 this year, which would allow State and local government employees to purchase up to 5 years of service to enhance retirement benefits. These benefits will encourage early retirement at no cost to the public employer. Therefore, I am unable to sign this bill."

AB 1715     Committee on Judiciary     Employment arbitration agreements

This bill would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer that has five or more employees to require an employee to waiver any rights or procedures under the Fair Employment and Housing Act as a condition of employment.

In his veto message, the Governor stated:

"…I do believe that the arbitration process needs to be addressed to ensure that it is fair and cost-efficient for all parties. That is why I was pleased to sign SB 475 (Escutia) in 2001, which provided for the creation of ethical guidelines for arbitrators in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). There may be other reforms to the arbitration process that the Legislature can adopt which will be fair to employees and employers alike.

"California Department of Fair Employment and Housing laws apply to businesses with five or more employees. This bill would apply to small businesses, the entities most likely to benefit from ADR. In my State of the State address I pledged to help California's small businesses to compete and thrive in California. I am concerned about adversely affecting the ability of California business to cost efficiently resolve disputes. …"