California employers in the lodging industry are facing some new challenges, including increased safety measures for housekeepers, how to deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in the workplace, a minimum-wage increase, and possibly training employees to identify human trafficking.
Lynn Mohrfeld, president and CEO of the California Hotel & Lodging Association, outlined the state of the industry at the Sonoma County Lodging Association’s annual meeting Feb. 8 at the Flamingo Hotel and Resort in Santa Rosa. He discussed both new and pending legislation affecting the industry.
After nearly six years of discussion and debate, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board in January approved a new measures to keep industry workers safe from workplace injuries.
Under the Hotel Housekeeping Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention standard, hotels will be required to identify and prevent injury risks for workers such as providing proper tools like long-handled mops or devices to help make beds. Housekeepers will also receive training on injury risks, according to the new rules.
Assembly Bill 1008, or “Ban the Box,” expands on an existing state law prohibiting employers in California with five or more employees from asking an applicant to disclose prior criminal conviction information until the applicant is determined to be qualified for the position and is given an offer. The question cannot appear on an employment application.
Another bill, AB 450, provides workers with protection from immigration enforcement while on the job.
The law requires employers to refuse to give federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents access to non-public areas of a businesses or employee records without a warrant or subpoena.
Previously, a warrant or subpoena were not necessary.
“The best thing to do is say ‘We would be happy to comply, and you are welcome to access to public spaces, but we will require a subpoena,” Mohrfeld said.
Jan. 1, the state minimum wage increases to $10.50 per hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees and to $11 per hour for employers with 26 or more employees.
Another new state law, Senate Bill 63, requires small businesses with 20 or more employees to provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave.
A bill has also been introduced that would require hotels and motels to train workers how to recognize signs of human trafficking.
Lodging establishments are already required to post resources available for victims of human trafficking.
Another new bill is proposing to extend last call from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. in a handful of cities including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, West Hollywood and Long Beach.