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The Return of the Industrial Welfare Commission

by Melissa Whitehead | | July 13, 2023

On July 10, 2023, Governor Newsome signed over 20 budget-related bills, which go into effect immediately. One of those bills (AB 102) includes funding for the defunct Industrial Welfare Commission (“IWC”). The IWC was a five-member commission in the California Department of Industrial Relations, which regulated wages, hours, and working conditions. Before it was defunded in 2004, the IWC established minimum wage and overtime compensation rates, regulated overtime requirements, and issued wage orders regulating working conditions by industry and occupation. Those wage orders have not been revised since 2001 – but that may change soon.

The revived IWC must convene industry-specific wage boards and adopt orders specific to wages, hours, and working conditions. The IWC will prioritize industries in which 10% or more workers are at or below the federal poverty level. AB 102 prohibits the IWC from issuing any orders with standards less protective than existing state law.

AB 102 requires the IWC to convene by January 1, 2024, “with any final recommendations for wages, hours, and working conditions in new wage orders adopted by October 31, 2024.”

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