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AB-1677 Call centers: protections.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 06/20/2019 04:00 AM
AB1677:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 19, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 16, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1677


Introduced by Assembly Member Weber

February 22, 2019


An act to add Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1410) to Part 4 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, relating to employment.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1677, as amended, Weber. Call centers: protections.
Existing law generally regulates the wages, hours, and working conditions of people employed in any occupation. Existing law creates the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the head of which is the Labor Commissioner. Existing law prohibits an employer from ordering a mass layoff, relocation, or termination, as defined, at a covered establishment, as defined, without giving a written notice of the order to certain parties and entities, including the employees, the Employment Development Department, and specified local officials.
This bill would establish the Protect Call Center Jobs Act of 2019 to would require an employer of customer service employees in a call center, as specified, that intends to relocate from this state to a foreign country to notify the commissioner at least 120 days before the relocation. The bill would require the Labor Commissioner to impose, in the commissioner’s discretion, one of two specified penalties, including a civil penalty of up to $10,000, upon an employer that fails to provide this notice.
This bill would require the Labor Commissioner to compile and publish a list of employers that provide the notice and make the list available to specified state entities. An employer that appears on the list would be ineligible to be awarded or have renewed state grants or state-guaranteed loans for 5 years after the date that the list is published and would be ineligible to claim tax credits for five taxable years beginning on and after the date that the list is published.
This bill would prescribe restrictions on contracting for call center customer service work performed by a private entity for a state entity, agency, including that it be located in California. California, unless an exception applies. The bill would preclude withholding or denial of payments, compensation, or benefits under any other state law to workers based upon these provisions, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 This act shall be known, and may be cited, as the Protect Call Center Jobs Act of 2019.

SEC. 2.

 Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1410) is added to Part 4 of Division 2 of the Labor Code, to read:
CHAPTER  5. Call Center Protections

1410.
 For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Call center” means a building, facility, or operation where customer service is provided by telephone. facility or other operation where workers, as their primary function, receive telephone calls or other electronic communication for the purpose of providing customer service or other related functions.
(b) “Commissioner” means the Labor Commissioner.
(c) “Disaster” means an emergency or natural disaster declared by the Governor to be an emergency pursuant to Section 8558 of the Government Code, or any other emergency or event, that prohibits the contractor from temporarily operating in the call center or in any other facility operated by the contractor within the state.

(c)

(d) “Division” means the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

(d)

(e) “Employer” means any business that employs for the purpose of customer service or back-office operations in the state either of the following:
(1) Fifty or more employees, excluding part-time employees.
(2) Fifty or more employees who in the aggregate work at least 1,500 hours per week, exclusive of hours of overtime.
(f) “Overflow” means work volume that is in excess of the forecasted volume specified in the call center’s contract with the state agency and is an increase of at least 30 percent of anticipated volume when measured against the average monthly call or contact volume for the previous 12 months.

(e)

(g) “Part-time employee” means an employee who is employed for an average of fewer than 20 hours per week or who has been employed for fewer than 6 of the 12 months preceding the date on which notice is required.

1411.
 (a) An employer that intends to relocate its call center, or one or more facilities or operating units within a call center comprising at least 30 percent of the call center’s, or operating unit’s, total volume when measured against the average call volume for the previous 12 months, or substantially similar operations, from this state to a foreign country shall notify the commissioner at least 120 days before the relocation.
(b) At the commissioner’s discretion, an employer that violates subdivision (a) shall be subject to one of the following:
(1) A civil penalty not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for every day of violation.
(2) The employer shall pay for an independent community impact study to determine the proportionate impact of the relocation on the community, and the employer shall pay damages that are proportionate to the impact on the community, as determined by the study.
(c) The commissioner shall compile and publish semiannually a list of employers who provide notice pursuant to subdivision (a). The list shall be made available to all state entities that need the information for purposes of compliance with Section 1412.
(d) Subdivisions (a), (b), and (c) do not apply to employer activity that is in compliance with subdivisions (c) and (d) of Section 1413.

1412.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), and notwithstanding any other provision of law, an employer that appears on the list described in subdivision (c) of Section 1411 shall be ineligible to be awarded or have renewed any direct or indirect state grants or state-guaranteed loans for five years after the date that the list is published, and shall be ineligible to claim a tax credit for five taxable years beginning on and after the date that the list is published.
(b) The commissioner, after consulting with the agency that provided a loan or grant, may waive the ineligibility provisions prescribed in subdivision (a) if, in the commissioner’s opinion, the applicant employer demonstrates good cause to do so, which may include job loss or adverse impact on the state.

1413.
 (a) Each state agency shall ensure that call center and customer service work performed by a private entity contracted to provide provide, as the primary function of the private entity, call center services performs these services on behalf of the state agency is performed in California.
(b) An entity that has contracted with the state for call center services that, as of January 1, 2020, performs these services, in part or in whole, outside of California, shall ensure that these services, commencing December 31, 2021, are performed in California. A call center employee who is hired on and after January 1, 2020, by an entity that has contracted with the state for call center services shall perform these services in California.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), if a disaster occurs, a contractor may temporarily utilize a call center facility outside of the state for a maximum of 30 days or until the call center’s facility within the state is operational, whichever occurs first, subject to agreement by the state agency.
(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), a contractor may temporarily utilize a call center facility outside of the state for overflow for a period not to exceed 48 hours, or for a period previously approved by the state agency, to accommodate seasonal needs and avoid unreasonable, short term costs for the state. Utilizing a call center facility outside of the state for overflow pursuant to this subdivision shall, at the state agency’s request, trigger a reassessment of the forecasted volume specified in the contract.

1414.
 This chapter shall not be construed to permit withholding or denial of payments, compensation, or benefits under any other state law, including state unemployment compensation, disability payments, or worker retraining or readjustment funds, to workers employed by employers that relocate to a foreign country.