California is one of the most worker-friendly states in the nation. So it isn’t surprising that employers gripe about the state’s employee-protection laws.
But business boosters say the real problem with the laws isn’t their intent. It’s that there are so many regulations and some are so rigid and confounding that they’re hard to make sense of, even for companies that want to follow the rules.
“It’s an administrative burden, it is a lack of flexibility in the workplace and it is also such stringent requirements that there’s always a degree of liability or a threat of litigation,” said Jennifer Barrera, a policy advocate with the California Chamber of Commerce.
There is, of course, a flip side.
Regulations can prevent tragedies and injustices. In Texas, a state often praised for being “business friendly,” a lack of rules has left hundreds of thousands of workers without coverage should they be injured or killed on the job.
Such worker-protection laws often follow abuses, and labor advocates say legislative mandates and harsh penalties are necessary to protect the most vulnerable workers and to ensure bad actors make improvements.
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Is this a complete one-sided love letter to conservatives/libertarians or what?
Wait… didn't I just read somewhere that the chairman of the Voice of San Diego, R. B. Woolley, is stridently anti-union? Ah… now this kind of article makes sense.
“Every year, California legislators wanting to mend abuses write more laws”. That pretty well sums up the problem, but “abuses’ are often anecdotal, not systemic, so they write a law that may cure a problem that occurs, if at all, only occasionally, and the effect is to inject more rigidity into a system that’s already too inflexible for today's workers and work requirements. The overtime after 8 hours provision is typical, a throwback to assembly line industries.
The impacts are myriad. Each new regulation has an enforcement component (translation: more jobs at the state government level and a bigger state budget). There is seldom any attempt to review existing regulations to check for overlap and conflict, or to eliminate archaic rules that hinder flexible work arrangements. The rigid “rest periods” and lack of provisions to take time off one day for personal business and make it up the next are typical.
The whole system needs a thorough review with an eye to accommodating today’s work schedules, particularly with so many more working mothers. This state is governed by morons with no future vision, beholden to large labor organizations rooted in the anti-boss, "get what you can" mindset of the 30s.
Great article Lisa, on a subject that’s really important to the long term competitiveness of California companies.
Interesting to see the San Diego Employers Association raise concerns on behalf of employees. The rule upon which Ms. Jacobus comments would also seem to prevent employers from adjusting schedules to four hours one day and 12 hours the next, while avoiding overtime, one would imagine.
Ms. Halverstadt: Regarding the overtime over 8 hours rule, this is actually a bit more flexible or at least has more nuance. It is possible to create alternative workweek schedules, such as four ten hour day workweeks or even 12 hour workdays. Overtime does kick in for work beyond the scheduled shift.