GSBE Weekly Update 10/17/2018
Injury Reporting — Statute of Limitations
Employers’ liability for workplace injury reporting violation penalties has been extended from six months to five years under AB 2334. A change in the code’s definition of an “occurrence” as it relates only to citations for recordkeeping purposes means citations may be issued for the entire five-year mandatory record retention period until they are corrected or discovered by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), or until any recordkeeping duty is eliminated.
This new law is a response to the recent federal rollback of recordkeeping regulations established under the Obama administration. If Federal OSHA follows through with its current proposal to eliminate or substantially diminish electronic submission requirements for Logs 300 and 301, AB 2334 directs Cal/OSHA to create an advisory panel to consider how California employers could still be required to continue electronic submission.
Sexual Harassment Training
Even small employers will soon be subject to California’s sexual harassment training mandate, though they won’t have to comply until January 1, 2020. Larger employers will need to expand their training programs as well.
Current law requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide supervisors with two hours of sexual harassment training within six months of hire or promotion. Beginning January 1, 2020, all employers with five or more employees will be required to provide two hours of sexual harassment training to supervisors and one hour to non-supervisorial employees within six months of hire or promotion, and every two years after that. Under SB 1343, employers who provide the required training to employees in 2019 will not be required to retrain the same employees in 2020.
Temporary and seasonal employees must be trained within 30 days of hire or 100 hours worked, whichever is earlier. Temporary services employers will be responsible for training employees who are placed with clients.
Paid Family Leave
Beginning January 1, 2021, the PFL wage replacement program will be expanded. Under
SB 1123, employees will be able to collect PFL benefits if they take time off for activities related to the covered active duty status of their spouse, registered domestic partner, child or parent who is a member of the US Armed Forces. Called “qualifying exigencies,” these activities might include such things as official military ceremonies; briefings; changes to child care or financial or legal arrangements as a result of military service; counseling; or spending time with the covered service member during rest and recuperation leave, among others. The term qualifying exigencies comes from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for such situations.
This new law doesn’t create a right to take a protected leave of absence, merely the ability to collect PFL benefits if the employee does take time off. The right to take a protected leave for “qualifying exigencies” will depend on whether the employee is eligible under the FMLA. If the employee is not, an employer could nonetheless choose to provide a leave for qualifying exigencies but would not be required to do so.