2014: New State Laws Impacting Grocery Industry

In the first year of a two-year California legislative session, 2,450 pieces of legislation were considered and while only a fraction became law, there are a handful of bills that will impact the grocery industry in 2014.

CGA hosted a 2014 New Laws webinar reviewing the most impactful pieces of legislation specific to the grocery industry. Below is a brief list of what CGA members-companies need to be aware of this year. You can click here to access the “2014 New Laws Webinar” in its entirety.

Assembly Bill (AB) 10: California’s Minimum Wage

The State’s minimum wage will increase to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014 and again to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016. The bill’s original intent was to tie the minimum wage to an annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), but the employer community was successful in mitigating the damage by negotiating its removal.
Law in effect January 1, 2014

Assembly Bill (AB) 263: Employer Retaliation

This bill adds unfair immigration- related practices to the existing labor law statute, expanding the law to protect undocumented workers from discrimination or retaliation based on their immigration status.

This bill creates a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. Violations as defined by this new law include: Requesting more or different documents than required by federal law, using E-verify at a time or manner not required by federal law, threatening to file or the filing of a false police report, threatening to contact or contacting immigration authorities.

Moreover, this law prohibits any person acting on behalf of the employer from making, adopting, or enforcing any rule, regulation or policy preventing an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency. (Note: More detail on AB 263 can be found in the 2014 New Laws Webinar).
Law in effect January 1, 2014

Senate Bill (SB) 465: Slack Fill

In 1997, the California Legislature identified a variety of reasons manufacturers should be permitted to have extra space in their packaging. Fifteen years after these slack fill exemptions became law, companies have faced enforcement actions in California for their product packaging. This new law expands protections for manufactures for slack fill in their packaging by adding 15 non-functional slack fill exemptions to the current statute.
Law in effect January 1, 2014

Senate Bill (SB) 667: Retail Sale of Shelled Eggs

This CGA-sponsored bill sought to clean up the unintended consequences of legislation enacted in 2010 (AB 1437) in which retailers were subject to heavy fines based on producer non-compliance with standards of California’s Prop 2. Specifically, retailers would have been strictly liable for conditions of egg-laying hens both inside and outside of California. This bill modified liability for retailers to a knowing. It is a nuanced, yet important distinction that CGA member-companies need to be aware of. In short, this bill did not establish compliance penalties, but rather gave member-companies an added layer of protection.
Law in effect January 1, 2014

Senate Bill (SB) 770: Family Leave Expansion:

This law broadens the definition of family within the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program to allow workers to receive the partial wage replacement benefits while taking care of seriously ill siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, and parents-in-law.
Law in effect January 1, 2014