Two Assembly Bills addressing employee wages in California recently were referred to legislative committees in late January and early February 2015. Although early in the legislative process, both could have a palpable impact on employers doing business in California.
Senate Bill 3 – Minimum Wages
The first, Senate Bill (SB) 3, proposes to increase minimum wages twice more over the next two years. Specifically, SB 3 seeks an increase to $11 per hour effective January 1, 2016, and then $13 per hour effective July 1, 2017. Further, the bill proposes an annual automatic minimum wage adjustment, beginning January 1, 2019, to correspond with the rate of inflation, unless the average percentage of inflation for the previous year was negative. Thus, should SB 3 pass, employers can expect multiple additional minimum wage increases over the next two years, followed by potential annual increases every year thereafter.
Assembly Bill 67 – The Double Pay on the Holiday Act of 2015
The second, Assembly Bill (AB) 67, proposes to amend California’s Labor Code and create the Double Pay on the Holiday Act of 2015. As the name suggests, AB 67 seeks double pay (twice the employee’s rate of pay) for employees who work on “family holidays,” which are defined as December 25 (Christmas) and the fourth Thursday of November (Thanksgiving). Notably, the bill appears to include not only full-time employees, but also temporary employees hired during the holiday season, as it defines “Employer” to mean “any person employing another under any arrangement or contract of hire . . . .” Should AB 67 pass, those California employers who do not already provide double pay to their employees working on Christmas and Thanksgiving will have to weigh the financial benefit of doing business those days against the cost of double pay.