Written by Jeremy Mittman
On July 22, 2022, the California Secretary of State announced that a measure to repeal the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), which authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations, is qualified for the statewide ballot in November 2024. The proposed initiative, titled the “Labor Code Fair Pay and Accountability Act of 2022,” would put enforcement of labor laws back into the hands of independent state regulators.
Proponents of the proposed measure believe that repealing PAGA would benefit both employees and employers by:
- Allowing employees to recover compensation more quickly and efficiently without having to hire an attorney.
- Holding employers accountable by doubling existing statutory and civil penalties for willful violations.
- Requiring that 100% of penalties be awarded to employees instead of the 25% going to employees and 75% going to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) under PAGA.
- Protecting small businesses that follow the law from “shakedown” lawsuits.
- Providing resources to employers to ensure compliance with labor laws, for example by creating and maintaining a Consultation and Publication Unit to provide advice and guidance.
A long road lies ahead before PAGA is potentially repealed by California voters in 2024. We will continue to monitor for developments on PAGA and the Labor Code Fair Pay and Accountability Act of 2022.