Monday, October 27, 2014

California Elects to Publicly Shame Employers Who Create Low Wage, Entry Level Jobs with AB 1792

Compliance with California's minimum wage laws won't keep the state from publicly humiliating employers with lower wage working populations. 

Assembly Bill 1792 takes effect on January 1, 2015 and requires employers with 100 or more employees enrolled in California's Medi-Cal program to disclose data to the State for purposes of determining the total average cost of State and federally funded public assistance benefits provided. The data will then be posted on the State Department of Finance's website for what might be called, in today's pop vernacular, low wage shaming.

While stigmatizing the creation of entry-level work, Utopi-Fornia's new law simultaneously seeks to remove any scintilla of a possibility that a person who is receiving taxpayer-funded handouts could be identified as such.  AB 1792 prohibits an employer from disclosing to any person or entity that an employee receives or is applying for public benefits and prohibits an employer from making any employment decision on a recipient's choice to take the government's handouts.  By belittling employers who offer low-wage positions while further seeking to remove all possibility of shame, stigma or identification for a person who receives such benefits, California ensures that the state will have less entry-level work and more welfare recipients.

I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Two years ago we leaned:
One in seven Americans are on food stamps, but the government is pushing to enroll more — in many instances working to overcome Americans’ “pride,” self-reliance or failure to see a need. 
“Our common goal is to increase participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” the United States Department of Agriculture explains on its “Outreach Toolkits” page. “Our purpose is to ensure that those going through difficult times can feed their families healthy, nutritious food. By working as a team, we can accomplish these goals.”
The erosion of American "pride" is apparently not enough.  The new message is clear. If you offer low-wage, entry-level employment that might cause a portion of your employees living in high-cost areas like the San Francisco bay area, San Diego or Los Angeles to receive welfare benefits, California's ruling class wants to denigrate you.  You are not welcome here.  So you, like Elon Musk and Tesla, might as well take your employment to a state that doesn't despise you.

Perhaps that was the goal all along.  Just last week Presidential frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, explained to a crowd that businesses don't create jobs, anyway.

I suppose that half of those who remain in California can get government jobs while the other half lives on welfare.  When it collapses and burns the federal government will bail it out anyway.  But we'd better hurry because if Illinois beats us to statewide bankruptcy and bailout, I'm not sure that the country will have the appetite for a second.

Here is how Littler Mendelson summarizes the new law:
An unusual law seeking to spotlight the allegedly inadequate compensation practices of larger employers has been created in what some call “the public shaming act.” The new law requires, until January 1, 2020, that various state agencies compile data to determine the total average cost of state and federally funded public assistance benefits provided to each identified employer's employees ("beneficiaries"). The data is then provided to the State Department of Finance annually to transmit to the Legislature and post on the Department's Internet Web site a report summarizing, for each subject employer, the cost to governments of the assistance provided to each company’s beneficiaries. The new law defines an employer as an individual or organization that employs 100 or more beneficiaries of the Medi-Cal program. The new law prohibits an employer from disclosing to any person or entity that an employee receives or is applying for public benefits, unless authorized by state or federal law. (AB 1792; repeals and amends Government Code section 13084, amends Unemployment Insurance Code section 1095, and adds and repeals Welfare and Institutions Code section 11026.5.)