News of the Month – September 2019

September 25th, 2019

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 343 into law on September 5. Known as the Kaiser Permanente Financial Sunshine Law, the law requires Kaiser to provide more data about the revenue and profits of individual hospitals, whereas now it lumps those figures for all facilities into two broad categories: “Northern California” and “Southern California.” Another bill requiring greater transparency by Kaiser Permanente is advancing through the legislature. AB 1404 would direct Kaiser and any other similar non-profit healthcare system report to the public more information about the use of the non-profit assets being paid out as benefits for executives and doctors at for-profit businesses.

Companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are scrambling to grapple with a new law in California that will require “gig economy” companies to offer their workers a full range of employee benefits. Under the new law, recently signed by Governor Newsom, most gig economy workers in the state will be classified as employees, allowing them to access benefits like a minimum wage and labor protections, including the right to organize. Despite company. Pushback, drivers with Uber and Lyft drivers have vowed to fight for the right to unionize under the new law.

House and Senate Democrats recently introduced legislation to create career paths for home health aides. The bill, called the Direct CARE Opportunity Act, would provide grants to about a dozen organizations or states to address the nationwide shortage of home caregivers. The profession has one of the highest turnover rates in the country. In interviews, several home health aides described their work as emotionally and physically draining.

A new initiative launched last week aims to protect vulnerable food service workers from wage theft. Officials in Santa Clara County now have the ability to suspend permits from businesses that refuse to pay employees what they’re owed. Common forms of wage theft include non-payment of overtime, not paying for all the hours worked, and/or not paying minimum wage.

Across the USA, 45 cities and counties have approved local minimum wage laws to address soaring inequality. Twenty-six are in high-cost California coastal counties and the Bay Area. In Santa Rosa, an ordinance set to go before the City Council on October 1 would put add the city to the list of more than two dozen California cities that have decided to move faster than the state’s mandate to raise minimum wages for workers to $15 by 2023.