Two Pending California Workplace Bills Supported by SHRM Members

Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act, Workplace Flexibility Act of 2015 are before the state assembly

By Bill Leonard Apr 9, 2015
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Approval of two key pieces of workplace legislation is a top priority for the approximately 300 HR professionals and attorneys attending the California State Legislative and HR Conference in Sacramento, April 9-10, 2015.

Officials with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Society’s California State Council (CalSHRM) actively support passage of the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act (A.B. 1383) and the Workplace Flexibility Act of 2015 (A.B. 1038). Both bills are pending in the California State Assembly.

A Voluntary Preference Employment Policy

If enacted, the Voluntary Veterans’ Preference Employment Policy Act would allow employers to develop a voluntary policy establishing a preference for job applicants who are former members of the U.S. armed forces, over other qualified job applicants. The measure would expand the hiring preference to all veterans of the U.S. military, regardless of when job applicants served active and reserve duty.

The bill amends and corrects an outdated state law which established a hiring preference only for veterans of the Vietnam War era. In addition, A.B. 1383 would ensure that an employer’s use of the veteran preference policy does not violate any current state and local employment laws or regulations.

While generally opposing any mandates on employee benefits or hiring requirements, officials with CalSHRM and SHRM believe that A.B. 1383’s voluntary preference policy for employers is a fair approach that will help veterans find work and thank them for their military service. Similar bills have been approved and enacted into law in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington.

Workplace Flexibility Act

If enacted, the Workplace Flexibility Act of 2015 would permit nonexempt employees in nonunionized workplaces to request workweek schedules of four days a week/10 hours a day. The measure would allow employers to grant these work schedules and not require the businesses to pay overtime for the additional two hours worked each day on a four-day schedule. The legislation would not affect the state’s current daily overtime rule for hourly employees who do not choose to work an alternative schedule.

Under California’s unique daily overtime rules, employers often have to pay overtime to hourly employees who work more than eight hours per day. A.B. 1038 would not affect other overtime pay rules; for example, nonexempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week would still be eligible for overtime pay. Similar legislation was introduced during the 2014 session of the State Assembly, however, the measure stalled in the Assembly’s Committee on Labor and Employment.

Attendees of the California State Legislative and HR Conference met with members of the State Assembly to urge passage of these bills and to discuss other key HR-related legislative issues.

"This year, CalSHRM is supporting two critically important pieces of legislation we strongly believe are needed in the state. More than 75 engaged and dedicated HR professionals walked to the Capitol and met with State Assembly members to discuss these two important pieces of legislation," said Mike Letizia, SHRM-CP, president of Letizia HR Solutions Inc. and president of CalSHRM. "These professionals brought HR's voice to the legislature, and our unique viewpoint was welcomed as we continue to make a difference through our ability to impact and influence the California employment landscape."

Bill Leonard is a senior writer for SHRM.
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