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Newsom revives Calif. industrial welfare panelNewsom revives Calif. industrial welfare panel

Commission set to regulate hours, wages, working conditions.

Teresa McQueen

August 18, 2023

1 Min Read
California State Capitol
The California State Capitol in Sacramento.Tim Hearden

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently signed budget bill (AB 102) provides a $3 million allocation to the state’s previously non-operational Industrial Welfare Commission.

The IWC – a quasi-legislative agency within the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) – was established nearly 100 years ago to regulate wages, hours and working conditions in California.

Defunded in 2004 by then-Gov. Gray Davis, the IWC’s numerous Wage Orders continue to be enforced by the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Additional budget monies allocated to revitalizing the IWC will also be used to reconvene industry-specific wage boards and to reinvigorate IWC mandates to adopt orders specific to wages, hours, and working conditions.

Vested with legislative, executive and judicial powers, the IWC is charged with reviewing a broad range of industries spanning seventeen individual Wage Orders. Because new orders may not include any standards that are less protective than existing state law, employers should not expect a lessening of responsibilities under any new or amended IWC Wage Orders.

New IWC mandates include:

  • Prioritizing its efforts to consider industries in which more than 10% of workers are at or below the federal poverty level (e.g., agricultural and service workers).

  • Appointing new members and convening by Jan. 1, 2024

  • Adopting any final recommendations for new wage orders covering wages, hours and working conditions by Oct. 31, 2024.

Employers wishing to offer the benefit of their experience and perspective to the IWC as it considers new Wage Orders, or the modification of existing Orders, should monitor the IWC’s website for public comment opportunities such as upcoming public meetings or investigative hearings.

Source: Western Growers

About the Author(s)

Teresa McQueen

Corporate Counsel, Western Growers

Teresa McQueen is Corporate Counsel for Western Growers. In that capacity she provides advice and counsel to the organization on employment law matters and commercial trade practices.

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