New Labor Law to Benefit Outdoor Workers

By October 21, 2013Articles

At the end of the 2013 legislative session, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 435 which will provide outside workers, starting January 1, 2014, with one hour of premium pay for any missed “recovery period.” California Code of Regulations section 3395, addressing heat illness prevention under Cal-OSHA regulations, defines a “recovery period” as a cool down period afforded an employee to prevent heat illness. Section 3395 specifically requires recovery periods of shade accessibility for outdoor workers during high temperatures. This law applies to employees who work in agriculture, construction, landscaping, oil and gas extraction, and transportation workers (except those in air-conditioned vehicles and not engaged in loading or unloading).

Senate Bill 435 now amends Labor Code section 226.7 to provide that if an employee misses a recovery period, the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at their regular hourly rate for each missed recovery period.

This new requirement to provide recovery periods to outside workers will likely lead to many new class action lawsuits. Since the new law specifically incorporates Cal-OSHA regulations regarding heat illness and safety, employers are encouraged to review those regulations to ensure compliance and avoid litigation. Employers should also consider implementing a system to provide for, document, and pay those employees who take recovery breaks.

To read Senate Bill 435, click here:
Senate Bill 435