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AB 135 – Revives Statutory Impasse Resolution Procedures For IHSS Labor Negotiations; Imposes Funding Penalty For Agencies That Fail To Reach Agreement
AB 135 is a budget omnibus bill, and therefore makes a large number of changes to various laws relating to the state budget for fiscal year 2021-2022. One enactment that is particularly relevant to California counties is the revival of a previously-repealed penalty provision for agencies that fail to reach a collective bargaining agreement with an employee organization representing In-Home Supporting Services (IHSS) providers.
In 2017, Senate Bill 90 created a temporary impasse resolution procedure for labor negotiations with IHSS providers, consisting of mandatory mediation and factfinding. This bill included a fixed sunset date of January 1, 2020. In June 2019, Senate Bill 80 added a penalty provision, whereby an IHSS public authority or nonprofit consortium would have its Realignment funding reduced by 1% of the county’s maintenance of effort requirement, if it failed to reach agreement on a contract with IHSS providers within a certain timeframe after receiving a factfinding report that was more favorable to the providers than the agency’s last, best, and final offer. SB 80 extended the sunset date to January 1, 2021; on that date, this procedure and the penalty provision were automatically repealed.
Effective July 16, 2021, AB 135 revived both the impasse resolution framework as well as the penalty provision, with two significant changes from the previous version. First, the funding penalty is increased to 7% of the County’s maintenance of effort requirement. Second, the law no longer includes an automatic sunset date. As such, agencies engaged in IHSS negotiations should be mindful of the risk of having this increased penalty imposed during each subsequent MOU negotiation.
(AB 135 adds Section 12031.61 to the Welfare and Institutions Code, among numerous other changes.)