California has always been one of the national leaders in terms of worker protection. The politics of the state means that it moves more aggressively to regulate the relationship between workers and employers. The governor recently signed into law some reforms to alter various aspects of this relationship.
What has changed recently in California
The state has signed into law 18 different bills with a variety of key provisions. The first of note is a specific law that oversees the garment industry. Previously, in the garment industry, factory workers and other producers could be paid per piece that they worked on. This would lead, effectively, to a wage much lower than the state and federal minimum wages. This practice is now illegal. The second major provision ends the practice of allowing employers to pay disabled workers wages below the minimum by using special certificate programs. The set of laws also permits the creation of a new board of advisors that has the purview of domestic workers, overseeing their wages, health and making recommendations about policy for them.
Other parts of the law create bigger and harsher penalties for employers that commit wage theft. Between that and the disability protections, California is a more welcome place for workers and there are more wage and hour laws in place to ensure that they are covered by the minimum age.
California has passed a large package of reforms. All industries are affected to various extents, and some have more scrutiny than others. A lot of them also create new entities for oversight and enforcement, which expands their range of legal options for levying penalties.