Kristin's Blog
New California Law Requires Employers to Provide Employees with a “Recovery Period”

Effective January 1, 2014, Senate Bill 435 expands existing law to prohibit employers from requiring an employee to work during any meal period, rest break or recovery period mandated by applicable statute or regulation, standard or order of the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) or California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA).

This new law expands Labor Code section 226.7, allowing non-exempt employees to take meal periods and rest breaks, and to include the right to take a “recovery period.”  “Recovery period” is defined as a “cool down period afforded an employee to prevent heat illness.”  As such, employees that work in hot environments or outside on hot days, will need to provide a “recovery period” for those employees.  Cal/OSHA regulations, California Industry Safety Order 3395, defines “cool-down” breaks as in the “shade for a period of no less than five minutes at a time when they feel the need to do so to protect themselves from overheating.”

If an employer violates this new law, they are obligated to pay an employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each workday that a recovery period is not provided (this is the same rate of premium pay in effect for denying an employee a meal period or rest break).

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