Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

Yesterday, California lawmakers passed Assembly Bill 3216, which establishes “Recall Rights” and a “Right of Retention” for laid-off employees. California employers must offer laid-off employees in writing by mail, email, and text message all job positions that become available after the bill’s effective date for which the laid-off employees are qualified. AB 3216 now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for signature, where he has until September 30, 2020 to sign it.

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Unlimited vacation policies have gained popularity in recent years, both with employees and employers. These policies allow employees can take as much time off as their responsibilities allow, and relieve employers of the administrative burden of tracking PTO accrual, use, and payout. Even more attractive to the employers is the proposition that an unlimited PTO policy avoids the requirement of paying out accrued but unused PTO at the end of employment. For traditional PTO accrual policies, earned vacation is considered wages, and Labor Code Section 227.3, requires an employer to payout earned but unused vacation time upon separation. In contrast, under unlimited PTO policies, employees do not accrue and “bank” vacation hours to use later; rather they are entrusted to take time off at their election, so long as they complete their work and perform as expected.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised the guidance regarding when to return an employee to work following a positive COVID-19 test. These revisions shorten the period of time a person should self-isolate and adopt a symptom-based strategy rather than a test-based strategy.

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On July 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor released new forms for Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave. Their stated purpose is to make the process easier, ensure the completeness of the necessary information, and allow for electronic signatures to reduce contact.

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Under the National Labor Relations Act, workers engaging in a “concerted activity” with other employees, such as a union organizer or representative discussing conditions of employment with an employer, qualifies as a protected activity.

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On July 13, 2020, the California Department of Public Health issued Updated COVID-19 Testing Guidance urging employers not to require a negative COVID-19 test before allowing an employee to return to work after they have tested positive for COVID-19.

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On Tuesday, Jill H. Coffman, director of the National Labor Relations Board’s Region 20 office in San Francisco, issued an order allowing furloughed hotel workers to hold union elections by mail in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UNITE HERE Local 5 filed a petition with the Board to represent a bargaining unit of approximately 350 employees of the Prince Waikiki, a luxury hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. Like many employers across the country, the Hotel temporarily suspended its operations due to government regulations implemented in response to COVID-19. As a result, all but 50 of its employees in the petitioned-for-unit were temporarily furloughed in late-March with no lapse in benefits. The employees were added back to the payroll in late-April. By mid-June the Hotel began paying employees for time actually worked and conducted ZOOM meetings with staff in preparation for hotel stays beginning on August 1, 2020.

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On June 16, 2020, nearly seven weeks after the COVID-19 Right of Recall Ordinance was adopted by the Los Angeles City Council, the Department of Public Works, Bureau of Contract Administration, Office of Wage Standards (“OWS”) finally published long-awaited guidelines to help employers understand their new responsibilities under the Recall Ordinance.

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As businesses adapt to their “new normal” and prepare for the summer season, employers should be mindful of the approaching increases to city and state minimum wages. Employers should take the time to ensure that they are ready for minimum wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2020.

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The City of Los Angeles released its increased minimum wage for hotels in the City of LA with 150+ rooms. On July 1, 2020, the hourly minimum wage increases from $16.63/hour to $17.13/hour for these hotel workers. The announcement can be found on the City of Los Angeles’ website, which can be found here.

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