New California Law Will Clean Up Janitorial Service Industry
Monday, October 8, 2018
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Section: News Roundup




By Jeffrey Becker, President of Pegasus Building Services

Warning! As a facilities manager concerned about janitorial services, don’t get trapped by this under-reported provision in California’s new Property Service Workers Protection Act: Your company could be fined $10,000 for contracting with an unregistered janitorial company.

HOW CONTRACTING WITH A NON-REGISTERED JANITORIAL SERVICE COMPANY CAN HURT YOU

*First, as the company contracting for janitorial service, you can be liable for the unpaid wage violations of the janitorial service you contracted. This just happened to The Cheesecake Factory last June, in the tune of 4.57 million dollars. The popular restaurant chain had contracted with Americlean Janitorial Service which subcontracted some of the work to Magic Touch Cleaning. California state investigators found wage law violations by Magic Touch that cost janitors millions in unpaid wages. The Cheesecake Factory paid a portion of the damages and fines because the law provides for joint and several liabilities, meaning you share the cost of the loss with your contractor. The law does not provide a defense - it does provide for strict collection procedures.

*Second, you may face the fines set by the Property Service Workers Protection Act.

*Third, the non-registered janitorial service company may prove the adage of “you get what you pay for.” A dirty premise depresses your staff and turns off your clients. A messy, unclean building can lead to accidents and employee illness. All these results affect your bottom line and may create questions in the boardroom. 

WHAT PROVISIONS DIRECTLY IMPACT THE JANITORIAL SERVICE INDUSTRY? 

These provisions are particularly important to facility managers.
● As mentioned above, if you sign up with a janitorial service company that was not registered as of the date of your contract, your company faces fines between $2,000 and $10,000 for the first offense and up to $25,000 for the second offense.
● Although the law was effective July 1, 2018, the penalty provision begins on October 1, 2018, which is the registration deadline.
● Registered companies will have an official registration form. Unregistered janitorial service companies face penalties.
● Any janitorial service company that fails to register may be fined $100 per day up to a maximum of $10,000. 
A JANITORIAL SERVICE COMPANY MUST MEET REGISTRATION RQUIREMENTS INDICITAVE OF A REPUTABLE BUSINESS WHICH HELPS ELIMINATE THE HERE TODAY-GONE-TOMORROW CROOKS
● A janitorial service company must provide certain information, such as identifying its workers comp carrier and providing the names and contact information for corporate officers and managers.
● The company also must disclose information about unpaid wages and taxes, lawsuits, and code violations. 
● The company must participate in the sexual violence and harassment training program effective January 1, 2020, for registrations and renewals.
● The company must keep accurate employee pay records for three years to eliminate wage theft. Workers who are paid fairly are more likely to show up for their shifts and work harder.
● The company must pay $500 at registration and annual renewal fees.

HOW DO I FIND A REPUTABLE JANITORIAL SERVICE COMPANY?

First, be sure it is registered. This Act will eliminate most of the shady operators.

Second, research the company. Here are some critical questions:
● How long in business?
● Does it do the type of work you need?
● Can you talk to current customers?
● What is their inspection procedure?
● What type of cleaning products and procedures do they use?
● Are they available for emergencies?
● What is their customer service policy?

Third, learn about the employees who will be doing the work.
● What is the training process?
● How stable is the staff?
● Are background checks done? 

USE THE LAW TO IMPROVE YOUR WORKPLACE AND AVOID THE FINE

In a refreshingly clear and straightforward manner, the new law protects facility management companies, contract service providers, and janitors from shady operators that have plagued the industry. Fly-by-night operators often leave a building dirty, creating an unsafe and unhealthy workplace. They also engaged in wage theft which cost janitors millions of dollars of lost pay. Properly enforced, the new law should put the crooks in the dumpster.

Regarding the $10,000 fine, the State provides a fool-proof way to avoid it. Simply check the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement online database of registered janitorial companies at  https://cadir.secure.force.com/RegistrationSearch/  - if you contract with a listed company, you need not worry about the fine.

For more information, please visit our website to schedule a complimentary assessment of your janitorial and/or day porter needs.
https://pegasusbuildingservices.com/services/all/