Governor Signs Legislation Extending Exemption from Rest Period Requirements for Safety-Sensitive Employees at Petroleum Facilities
On September 30, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2479, which extends until January 1, 2026, the exemption from the rest period requirements for specified employees who hold a safety-sensitive position at a petroleum facility and are required to respond to emergencies. Before the passage of this legislation, the exemption was scheduled to remain in effect until January 1, 2021.
The exemption provides that the requirement that employees be relieved of all duties during rest periods will not apply to an employee in a safety-sensitive position at a petroleum facility to the extent that the employee is required to carry and monitor a communication device and respond to emergencies, or is required to remain on the employer’s premises to monitor the premises and respond to emergencies.
The exemption is not without caveats. Specifically, when a non-exempt employee covered by this section is required to interrupt the employee’s rest period to address an emergency, the employer should authorize another rest period reasonably promptly after the circumstances that lead to the interruption. If this is not possible, the employer must pay the employee one hour of pay at that employee’s regular rate of pay for the missed rest period. Employers should also know that they are required to furnish an itemized statement of the total hours or total premium owed to an employee for this missed rest period.