Last week, California’s Governor signed into law SB 435, which provides for one hour of premium pay for missed “recovery periods.” This new law amends Labor Code section 226.7, which California employers know as the law providing premium pay for missed meal and rest periods. (Basically, it’s a penalty of one hour of pay for a missed break, but California courts call it a “wage” instead of a “penalty” so that the statute of limitations on the claim is three times as long). The statute has led to myriad class action lawsuits in California alleging missed meal and rest breaks and seeking premium pay under section 226.7 on behalf of proposed classes of employees. Well, with the new amendment to section 226.7, this will undoubtedly lead to a whole new category of class action lawsuits seeking premium pay-now for allegedly missed “recovery” periods. So what is a “recovery period?” A recovery period is a cool down period of at least 5 minutes on an “as needed” basis that must be afforded to employees who work outside. Thus, this new law does not affect all California employers, but only those with outside employees, such as construction industry employers, agricultural employers, and the like. Employers are encouraged to review Cal-OSHA/Department of Industrial Relations guidance on heat illness and injury prevention.
Posted by Lauren Harrity 12/03/13