California Update

Assembly Labor Committee Considers Two SHRM-Backed Workplace Bills

May 8, 2015
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April 22 was a big day for SHRM’s efforts to advance the HR profession and advocate for sound workplace polices in the state of California.

CalSHRM State Council director-elect Patti Blosser, SHRM A-Team Captain Hector Moncada and Mike Letizia, SHRM MAC (Member Advisory Council) member and CalSHRM’s state director (pictured), testified in support of two SHRM-developed and sponsored pieces of HR legislation introduced by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee; second from left) before the California State Assembly’s Committee on Labor and Employment. Advocacy is a major component of SHRM’s strategic initiative in California and SHRM’s Sacramento-based government affairs staff has been working closely with the volunteer members of the CalSHRM State Council in advancing the interest of the HR profession in the state.

The first bill considered by the committee (A.B. 1383) would allow California employers to establish a voluntary preference in the hiring of all veterans–amending the state’s current veteran’s preference law which only applies to veterans of the Vietnam War era and solely safeguards California employers from claims of gender discrimination. Both Blosser, who is the controller at Golden State Lumber, and Moncada, an HR student at the University of the Pacific in Stockton who served in the U.S. Army for four years, testified in support of the bill. Following their testimony, A.B. 1383 passed out of the committee with the unanimous support of both Republicans and Democrats, representing a big victory for veterans, employers, and SHRM and CalSHRM, considering that most pieces of legislation are decided along a party-line vote. The bill now moves to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee and, if approved, then moves to the Assembly floor for consideration.

The second bill (A.B. 1038) is designed to allow nonexempt employees in California to request a flexible work schedule providing for a four-day, 10-hours-a-day workweek, that would not result in the need for overtime compensation for those two additional hours worked each day. Letizia testified on behalf of CalSHRM and SHRM, pointing out the many requirements that private-sector employers must meet under current California wage and hour laws in order to grant such work schedules. Other groups that supported the bill included the California Ambulance Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, the California Pool and Spa Association, the California Retailers Association, the California Restaurant Association, State Farm, the California Grocers Association, the Association of Builders and Contractors, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. Unfortunately, A.B. 1038 failed to pass out of the committee by a vote of 2-5.

On April 9, prior to the committee’s consideration of these measures, close to 80 HR professionals went to the State Capitol in Sacramento and advocated in support of both bills in meetings with their state representatives and/or staff as part of the CalSHRM Legislative and HR Conference. The continued presence of HR professionals in the Capitol, SHRM’s partnership with CalSHRM in advocating on behalf of the profession in California, and the commitment of both organizations to advance the merits of workplace flexibility and a voluntary veterans’ preference in hiring in California continue to raise the visibility of the HR profession among lawmakers in Sacramento.

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