California Amends the Wage Theft Prevention Act to Add Additional Written Notice Requirements for Employees
California Amends the Wage Theft Prevention Act to Add Additional Written Notice Requirements for Employees

Since 2011, the Wage Theft Prevention Act has required California employers to provide certain written information to new employees at the time of hiring and within seven days of any change. The Labor Commissioner provides a form Notice to Employee Labor Code Section 2810.5 for this purpose

Beginning January 1, 2024, Assembly Bill 636 will amend Labor Code 2810.5 to require employers to include in the 2810.5 Notice information regarding any federal or state emergency or disaster declaration issued within 30 days before hire that applies to the county or counties in which the employee will work and that may impact the employee’s health and safety at work. 

Thereafter, commencing on March 15, 2024, AB 636 will also require employers with federal H-2A agricultural visa workers to provide such employees with all 2810.5 Notice information, along with new specified information regarding their rights under California law. The additional information must be set forth a “separate and distinct” section which succinctly includes, but is not limited to, “the federal H-2A program wage rate required to be paid during the contract period; overtime wage rates; frequency of pay; pay for piece rate workers; 10-minute rest periods; 30-minute meal periods; transportation travel time compensation when required, including transportation from housing to work sites; employee housing rights; nonretaliation protections for complaints or organizing; contents of itemized wage statements; sexual harassment prohibitions; toilets; requirements regarding availability of potable water and handwashing facilities; requirements relating to hot weather working conditions and the availability of shade; pesticide exposure protections; workplace safety requirements, training and correction of hazards; transportation in defined farm labor vehicles; prohibitions against tool or equipment charges, prohibitions against deductions for meals not taken; training and necessary equipment and lighting for night work; prohibitions against use of short-handled hoes and limits on hand weeding; employee-paid health insurance; right to accrue and take sick leave; workers’ compensation coverage, disability pay, and medical care for injuries; and the right to complain to state or federal agencies and to seek advice from collective bargaining representatives or legal assistance organizations.” The separate notice section must be in Spanish, and in English if requested by the employee.

The Labor Commissioner is required to prepare 2810.5 Notice templates to meet the new AB 636 requirements. As with any change to 2810.5 Notice information, employers must notify all employees of any changes within seven days of the change, unless the changes are reflected in a timely wage statement furnished in accordance with Labor Code Section 226, or in another writing required by law. This effectively means that employers will have to provide information on any applicable federal or state emergency or disaster declaration within seven days. 

The 2810.5 Notice requirements do not apply to an employee who is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if the agreement expressly provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of the employee, and if the agreement provides premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked and a regular hourly rate of pay for those employees of not less than 30 percent more than the state minimum wage.  Persons working under the federal H-2A program subject to a collective bargaining agreement are not covered by the 2810.5 Notice requirements if the agreement provides for wage rates of not less than the federal H-2A program wage required to be paid during the contract period.

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Joanne Warriner.

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