Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of California.
On March 1, 2023, the California Chamber of Commerce proposed Senate Bill 592 (SB 592), which proposes two important changes to the law and is considered the first 2023 job creator bill. The bill is also sponsored by the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the CalAsian Chamber of Commerce.
What are the details?
SB 592 proposes two important changes to the law:
- First, the bill would require the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to translate its website content into California’s most commonly spoken languages. Currently, website content is primarily in English. The bill would result in adding content made available in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
- Secondly, SB 592 will shield employers who rely in good faith on the written advice of the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) from punishment through the assessment of civil and criminal penalties, fines, and interest.
“California has complex, unique burdensome labor and employment laws,” CalChamber Policy Advocate Ashley Hoffman said. “Employers who are non-English speakers should have the benefit of access to resources that can help them comply with those laws. Further, small businesses who rely on DLSE’s written advice and guidance should not be punished if a court ultimately determines that advice is wrong.”
There are numerous instances where courts have interpreted statutes differently from DLSE-established guidelines, resulting in employers owing not only back wages but also penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) and other Labor Code provisions.
Troester v. Starbucks is one example where the court invalidated part of DLSE’s enforcement manual regarding wage and hour law that employers had relied on.
Importantly, SB 592 does not protect bad actors. Employers must provide a defense demonstrating they are entitled to good faith determination.
“Uncertainty for employers regarding the correct application of California’s numerous labor and employment laws detrimentally impacts the state’s economy and employees,” said Hoffman. “Providing certainty through SB 592 will assist all employers in complying with the law, thereby producing a better business environment, economic growth, and an improved work environment for employees. Further, providing website information in the languages most commonly spoken in California will benefit employers and employees and create higher levels of compliance.”
For more information, please see the links below:
What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and should be on the lookout for any news regarding this new bill. Vensure will continue to provide more updates once more news has been received.