Amendments to California's Alternative Workweek Rules03.06.2009
On February 20, 2009, as part of California’s recent budget compromise, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill (“AB”) 5 into law. This Bill amends Section 511 of the California Labor Code pertaining to alternative workweek schedules and aims to provide more flexibility for employers and employees with regard to those alternative workweek schedules.
(1) AB 5 expands upon the menu of alternative workweek schedule options that an employer may choose to propose to employees to permit, unlike before, a regular schedule of 8-hour days, for which overtime is paid at time and one-half after eight hours and at double time after twelve hours in a workday;
(2) AB 5 codifies the definition of “work unit” for purposes of its provisions, consistent with the definition found in the majority of the California Wage Orders, as including “a division, a department, a job classification, a shift, a separate physical location, or a recognized subdivision thereof” and recognizes that a work unit can be a single individual so long as these criteria are met; and
(3) Most significantly, AB 5 permits employees for whom an employer proposes a menu of alternative workweek schedule options to, with the consent of their employer, move on a weekly basis from one workweek schedule to another in the adopted menu.
Some employers choose not to offer a menu of alternative workweek schedule options due to their scheduling needs and the inability to control which options in the menu that the employees will choose. If a menu of workweek schedule options is right for your company, however, then what AB 5 will do is permit an employee who wishes to work a traditional eight hour day to still vote for an alternative workweek schedule providing other options. This will make it easier to obtain the necessary votes of two thirds (2/3) of the employees in the unit.
Thus, when a menu of workweek schedule options is right for your company, AB 5 will likely provide more flexibility.
FN1 The alternative workweek schedule generally is up to ten hours without the payment of overtime although there are law exceptions for the healthcare industry and other law exceptions. Please contact legal counsel for further details.