LAST UPDATE: 9/20/2020
September 1, 2020: Senate Bill 1399 died in the California State Assembly when California lawmakers failed to vote on the bill before time ran out.
July 29, 2020: The California Assembly Labor Committee voted in favor of the Garment Worker Protection Act (SB 1399). Allies of the Garment Worker Center, fair-labor advocates and brands alike, called into the hearing in support of the bill.
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- (Garment Workers Act website) “SB 1399 Fact Sheet”
- (Apparel News) “State Senate Bill Seeks To End Garment-Industry Standard of Piece-Rate Pay”
- (BillTrack50.com) Bill Tracker
- (Legislature.ca.gov) Official bill
- (CA Assembly) Watch the Hearing - starts at 02:51:00
- Author: Maria Elena Durazo (CA State Senator, District 24)
- Co-author: Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (CA State Assemblymember, District 80)
STORIES / SB1399
Senate Bill 1399: The Garment Worker Protection Act
If your interests relate to fashion, you consider yourself as part of the fashion industry, or you believe people should earn more than $5/hour, SB1399 should matter to you. The bill extends laws and wording that ultimately protect garment workers from wage theft.
Key Bill Takeaways
- WAGES: Garment workers are prohibited from being paid by the piece. (Historically, workers were getting paid cents per unit they worked on.)
- LIABILITY: All parties (retailers and brands included) engaged in garment manufacturing share liability for legal responsibilities regardless of how many layers of outsourced contracting is involved
- PAYMENT: Parties must guarantee payment of unpaid minimum and stolen wages and overtime pay even when factories are shutdown
- OVERSIGHT: the Labor Bureau of Field Enforecment is authorized to investigate and cite parties for wage theft
“Several manufacturers have attempted to avoid liability by adding layers of contracting between themselves and the employees manufacturing the garments. [Before the bill]...manufacturers have no incentive to ensure safe conditions or the proper minimum wage and overtime payments for the workers producing their garments without liability.”
This bill is a significant step in the fight for fair-labor practices and it's all thanks to those who are continuously vocal about and stand for garment workers.