Calif. Senate Panel to Mull Equal-Pay Bill

Capitol Alert News Service

The California Senate Appropriations Committee in April will consider a bill proposed by Sen. Hilda Solis (D-El Monte) that would require businesses to offer the same wages and benefits to their part-time workers as their full-time employees.

Inspired by last year's Teamsters' strike against United Parcel Service of America Inc., SB 1968 would require firms that employ 20 or more workers to provide the same full-time wages and benefits to part timers on a prorated basis.

The bill would exempt roughly 830,000 small businesses, but apply to about 100,000 California companies, which employ 77% of the state's work force.

Violations would carry misdemeanor provisions of up to one year in jail and up to $5,000 in fines for failing to comply.

The bill last week passed the state Senate Industrial Relations Committee on a vote of 4 to 1 after some minor amendments. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure, arguing that it would force employers to cut benefit packages for full-time workers to keep costs down. It could also subject employers to discrimination violations.

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