Legal changes affecting clothing manufacturers in California

california_state_seal1Today must be the day for legal stuff! Okay, primarily via Apparel News come these highlights of interest to California based apparel manufacturers.

First is SB657, the Human Trafficking law (pdf) which states that effective January 1st, qualifying manufacturers and retailers are required to post specific details about their supply chains on their websites. I am unsure as to whether this applies to anyone reading this, there is a bit of confusion. The law broadly states that firms with 100 million in sales worldwide who have a “presence” in California are required to comply. Frankly, I doubt this applies to any of my visitors. Presumably anyone to whom this would apply had their in house counsel poring over the law well before now.

The confusion arises because an earlier article in Apparel News says the law also applies to firms with sales in California that exceed half a million dollars or 25% of one’s total sales -but this contradicts an article I read in Just-Style last August. Hmm. This is a bit too close for comfort. I doubt 25% of my sales are in CA but this expanded definition could be worrisome to many of you. Accordingly, I had my in house researcher (Mr. F-I, naturally, he’s off this week) look it over. He says he doesn’t see those definitions. Which ever the case may be, if you are required to be in compliance come January 1st but aren’t, you probably have a bit of a grace period to unpack what the law says. Obviously we should discuss it in comments to narrow it down.

By the way, if you’re not a California Apparel News subscriber, I suggest you read any links today because they don’t keep articles up for long.

Second item on CA’s legislative track of interest to you is the matter of requiring written commission agreements (Assembly bill 1396). This being a law in many states, I’m surprised it wasn’t required by law already. This means you’ll need to have a legal contract with any sales representatives you have. It’s a good idea to have one anyway.

Third item applies to San Francisco specifically; the minimum wage increases to $10.24 per hour.

Fourth item is SB 459 which applies to the hiring of independent contractors. The law provides for new penalties if you willfully misclassified independent contractors to avoid employee status. This could be troublesome but again, the language is pretty clear. Your malfeasance must be deliberate and knowing.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, you can read the same list I did. Other legal changes affect workers’ compensation, state contracts (the state can’t do business with you if you discriminate on the basis of gender or sexual orientation), SB 757 Non-Discrimination Insurance Act (must insure same sex domestic partners if you insure spouses), an increase in wage penalties (AB 551), Leave laws, E-Verify, Notice of Pay Details (AB 469), and lastly, Pregnancy Disability Leave which affects those with five or more employees.

And all this of course on top of the already onerous garment manufacturer’s law. California has lost a lot of jobs because of it and the recession hasn’t improved matters.

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