September 29, 2020

Volume X, Number 273

September 29, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

September 28, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

California Meal Period Waivers Continue for Health Care Workers under New Law

Responding to a California Court of Appeal decision disallowing a wage order provision permitting a waiver of certain meal periods for employees in the health care industry as conflicting with state statute, California has enacted legislation confirming that health care employee meal period waiver provisions in existing state Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders have been valid and enforceable since October 1, 2000. The new law, SB 327, signed by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015, is effective immediately.

In Gerard v. Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, 234 Cal. App. 4th 285 (2015), the California Court of Appeal concluded that certain language in Wage Order 5 of the Industrial Welfare Commission allowing employees in the health care industry to waive one of their two meal periods regardless of shift length was invalid to the extent it conflicts with Labor Code section 512. Labor Code section 512 prohibits waiver of the second meal period when an employee works more than 12 hours. Wage Orders 4 and 5, section 11(d), however, has allowed such waivers for employees in the healthcare industry since 1993. The Court of Appeal nevertheless concluded that its ruling should be applied retroactively, which opened health care industry employers to liability for up to four years of premium pay for “missed” meal periods. Currently, Gerard is under review by the California Supreme Court.

The new legislation retroactively confirms the validity of these greater-than-12-hour meal period waivers and amends section 516 of the Labor Code is to read, “the Industrial Welfare Commission may adopt or amend working condition orders with respect to break periods, meal periods, and days of rest for any workers in California consistent with the health and welfare of those workers.”

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume V, Number 291


About this Author

Bradley Kampas, Jackson Lewis, employment law matters, union relations attorney, contract negotiation lawyer, Americans with Disabilities act legal counsel

Bradley W. Kampas is a Shareholder in the San Francisco, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has practiced labor and employment law exclusively for management for over 25 years.

He has represented numerous employers with respect to labor and employment law matters, and has significant experience in the areas of union relations, contract negotiations, grievance arbitration, union avoidance, and day-to-day strategic advice. He has been a seminar speaker and trainer on maintaining union-free status; collective bargaining;...