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Blog : Employment Law Bills

California AB 5: Opportunity to Work Act Passes Through Assembly

Opportunity to Work Act California AB 5 Passes Through Assembly
Photo Credit: zenjazzygeek Flickr via Compfight cc

California Assembly Bill 5, the Opportunity to Work Act, was recently approved by the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment. If passed, AB 5 would require California employers to offer additional work hours to current, part-time employees before hiring new ones.

About California AB 5: The Opportunity to Work Act

California AB 5 is modeled after San Jose’s Opportunity to Work Ordinance that went into effect on April 1, 2017. AB 5 would require California businesses that employ 10 or more workers to offer their current staff members more hours before hiring new employees or contracting out additional work. AB 5 would also create a new Labor Code section to provide enforcement by the DLSE. The bill would apply to employers located anywhere in the Golden State.

AB 5’s co-author, Assembly member Gonzales-Fletcher claims the bill could offer much needed benefits and protections for retail and fast food workers. If the bill is passed, California employers would have to:

  • Offer additional hours of work to existing workers if in the employer’s “reasonable judgement” they feel that employees have the “skills and experience to perform the work.”
  • Adhere to a non-discriminatory and transparent process in awarding additional work hours.
  • Post a notice created by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) which would outline employee rights under the law.

Employers would have the right to deny additional hours to current employees if doing so would require them to pay these workers overtime.

Opponents Say California AB 5 Could Kill Jobs

While there are supporters of the bill, there are also those who oppose it for a variety of reasons including a possible lack of job opportunities. CalChamber has identified the Opportunity to Work Act as a “job killer” due to the limits the bill puts on employers’ ability to manage their workforce effectively and reducing opportunities for the unemployed. CalChamber also says that the bill could create unnecessary delays and burdens on small businesses, including costly fines and technical violations that do not result in harm to current employees.

Amendments to AB 5 Could Be Made to Address Opponents’ Concerns

Authors of the bill say that future amendments to AB 5 could get business owners rallied behind it – with their own input and help. Some amendments that Gonzalez-Fletcher is considering include delay of implementation for 501 (c) (3) organizations, creating a carve-out for collective bargaining agreements that define what work hours entail, and providing employees with a provision to opt-out since some employees only want to work part-time.

California AB 5 Opportunity to Work Act: Additional Information

If your employer is violating California wage and hour laws, rest assured that our Los Angeles California employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz are here to fight for your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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