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Four More Years?

Legislature in Special Session

The California legislature has convened a special session to consider some of the proposals governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made in November. A copy of the governor's proclamation regarding the special session can be seen at this link.

Among the proposals on the table:

Broaden Overtime Exemptions:

Exempt employees in executive, sales, administrative, and professional jobs who earn more than $100,000 annually from overtime pay.

Eliminate Eight Hour Work Days:

Allow employees to work flexible hours in excess of 8 per day, i.e., 10/40 work weeks without overtime.

Weaken Meal And Rest Period Laws:

Relax existing law regarding meal and rest periods to provide employers and employees with a clear understanding of meal breaks and offering flexibility to both businesses and workers.

We haven't been able to find yet exactly what meal and rest period proposals are on the table, but we have a list of meal and rest period bills that were vetoed or stalled in 2008:

AB 124 - Price - Meal and rest periods (Vetoed)

This bill would have extended protections afforded to employees covered by an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission to pool lifeguards and stage assistants who employed in the public sector. The bill specified that pool lifeguards and stage assistants employed by a city, county, or special district, shall not be required to work during any meal and rest period required for non-exempt employees under existing law.   The bill specified that if the public sector employer failed to provide a meal or rest period, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation.  In addition, the bill specified that should these requirements be in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached between an employer and a recognized employee organization, the provisions of the MOU shall control.

AB 628 – Price - Meal and rest periods: pool lifeguards (Vetoed)

This bill would have extended protections afforded to employees covered by an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission to pool lifeguards who are employed in the public sector. The bill specified that pool lifeguards employed by a city, county, or special district shall not be required to work during any meal and rest period required for non-exempt employees under existing law.   The bill specified that if the employer failed to provide a meal or rest period, the employer would have to pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal or rest period was not provided.  In addition, the bill specified that if these requirements were in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached between an employer and a recognized employee organization, the provisions of the MOU shall control. This bill was very similar to AB 124 (Price) from the previous year which addressed meal and rest period requirements for both pool lifeguards and stage assistants, however, this bill targets only pool lifeguards.

AB 1666 – Price - Meal and rest periods: stage assistants (Vetoed)

This bill would have extended protections afforded to employees covered by an order of the Industrial Welfare Commission to stage assistants who are employed in the public sector. The bill specified that stage assistants employed by a city, county, or special district shall not be required to work during any meal and rest period required for non-exempt employees under existing law.   The bill specified that if the employer failed to provide a meal or rest period, the employer would have to pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal or rest period was not provided.  In addition, the bill specified that if these requirements were in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached between an employer and a recognized employee organization, the provisions of the MOU shall control. This bill was very similar to AB 124 (Price) from the previous year which addressed meal and rest period requirements for both pool lifeguards and stage assistants; however, this bill targets only stage assistants.

SB 342 – Torlakson - Employment: rest and meal periods. (Without further action)

This bill would have declared the intent of the legislature to clarify the law regarding on-duty meal periods for employees who work in the armored car industry. 

SB 1192 – Margett - Employment: meal and rest periods. (Without further action)

This bill would have allowed employees to take their first meal period before the conclusion of the 6th hour of work, decreased the statute of limitations on penalties for failing to provide a meal period, and defined the employer’s responsibility to provide a meal period as making a meal period available without interference.

SB 1539 – Calderon - Meal periods. (Without further action)
            
This bill would have required an employer to provide meal periods to employees covered by Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders before the conclusion of the sixth hour of work; defined an employer responsibility to provide a meal period as giving the employee an opportunity to take a meal period; would have exempted all employees covered by collective bargaining agreements from meal period requirements if the collective bargaining agreement covers meal periods, and would have codified and expanded on-duty meal period requirements.

AB 1034 – Keene - Employment: meal periods. (Without further action)

This was originally introduced as a bill related to water; later it was re-referred to this committee ( L. & I.R.) pursuant to Senate Rule 29.10.  Bill was held in committee pursuant to Senate Rule 29.10. This bill would have stipulated that meal periods must begin no later than the conclusion of an employee’s 6th hour of work, exempted employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement that dealt with meal periods, codified on-duty meal period regulations, and permitted the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) to adopt regulations specifying the circumstances preventing employees from being relieved of all duty during a meal period.

The sessions, so far, have been unproductive.

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