Irvine Employment AttorneyOn August 18, 2014, California Governor Gerry Brown signed two bills that further expand employee rights to payment of wages. Both laws take effect on January 1, 2015.

The first is Assembly Bill 2074, authored by Assemblymember Roger Hernández (D – West Covina).  This bill amends California Labor Code Section 1194.2, which provides that an employee who brings an action to recover unpaid minimum wages may also recover liquidated damages in an amount equal to the unpaid wages claimed.  It has been unclear, however, which statute of limitations should apply to such a claim: the one-year statute that normally applies to claim for penalties or the three-year statute that applies to claims for unpaid wages.  This amendment provides that clarity by establishing that the correct statute of limitations is, effectively, three years: “a suit for liquidated damages may be filed at any time before the expiration of the statute of limitations for bringing the underlying action alleging payment of less than the state minimum wage.”

The second is Assembly Bill 2743, authored by the Committee on Labor and Employment (chaired by Assemblymember Roger Hernández).  This bill amends California Labor Code Section 203, which provides that an employee who is discharged or resigns from employment may recover “waiting time” penalties of a day’s wage, up to a maximum of thirty (30) days, when the employer willfully fails to pay the employee’s final wages in accordance with Labor Code Section 201(a) (providing, inter alia, for immediate payment of wages upon involuntary termination or resignation with at least 72 hours’ notice). Labor Code Section 201.9, however, provides that employers and employees in the entertainment industry may agree in a collective bargaining agreement to different time limits for final payment of wages.  This amendment provides that the waiting time penalties provided by Labor Code Section 203 would apply to any violation of a time limit for payment of wages established pursuant to that collective bargaining agreement provision.