Chambers of commerce ask governor to suspend laws they say burden employers
–Chambers of commerce across the state of California are sending a letter to governor Newsom asking him to immediately and temporarily suspend laws that they say unfairly burden employers without improving the health and safety of Californians.
In a press release, the Paso Robles Chamber writes, “The California economy cannot fully recover until businesses are allowed to reopen. On behalf of all of our members who are suffering under onerous restrictions, we joined fellow chambers and various organizations throughout the state in lobbying the governor for assistance and leniency to help speed economic recovery.
“We know many, if not all of our Paso businesses could safely reopen now with the extensive work they have done to create a safe environment for their employees and customers.”
The chambers are requesting that the governor take executive action to immediately and temporarily suspend for at least six months, the following laws and regulations, which they say will reduce burdens on employers without affecting the health and safety of Californians:
- CFRA for small employers: Temporarily suspend compliance with the California Family Rights Act for employers with fewer than 50 employees.
- CalOSHA mandatory testing and paid leave
- Eliminate the enforcement of the mandatory testing requirement under the Emergency Regulations for employers who are in no position to meet these onerous requirements, such as weekly or biweekly testing of entire workplaces.
- Eliminate the mandatory payment of wages under the emergency regulations for employees who are excluded from the workplace due to COVID.
- Property Taxes: They request a temporary delay in the next installment of property taxes that are due in April 2021 to allow employers time to reopen and earn income/revenue.
They are also requesting that the governor and/or legislature do the following:
- Expedite additional financial resources to small businesses: Request the governor and the legislature to expand the eligibility under the grant programs so more employers can qualify and increase the maximum amounts provided to sustain employers through the extended shutdowns. Additionally, the governor and legislature should develop an immediate financial reimbursement or quarterly tax offset for employers who are investing in state-mandated upgrades for their workspaces to protect employees from COVID, compliance with the emergency regulations, hiring employees, or any other business expense the employer has incurred as a direct result of the pandemic. A tax credit at the end of the year will work for some employers, but many cannot wait that long for financial relief or will not have enough taxable income for a credit to have an impact.
- Allow employers to utilize net operating losses and tax credits: these tax-saving measures that were adopted in July 2020 are no longer needed and businesses should be allowed to immediately utilize NOLs and earned tax credits to offset any harm they have suffered as a result of this pandemic and to encourage employers who are considering leaving, to stay.
They further request the legislature to enact the following policies in 2021:
- Eliminate disincentives for telecommuting.
- Relieve employers of abusive lawsuits under the Labor Code Private Attorney General Act.
- Delay enforcement of updated guidance and regulations.
- Pay down the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund.
- Reject any new tax measures.
- Eliminate barriers to housing.