The article below was originally emailed to many of our customers and we felt we should share this information with all. We hope it is helpful.
The state of California says that an employee should not be forced to work 7 days in a week and has attached a penalty for doing this. This is not new, but recently, there was some misunderstanding of the rule. I will try to explain.
When we first meet with you to discuss your employee packet, we ask all of you to define your workweek. This is NOT your pay period and it does not change. Your work week is permanently listed as a 7-day period that has an exact starting and stopping time. As an example, your work week may run from 12am Monday morning to 11:59 pm Sunday night. Let’s use this example:
If an employee works on Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat and Sunday, then they worked all 7 days in the SAME workweek. In this case, the employee would be entitled to be paid regular pay through Saturday, but the first 8 hours that they work on Sunday are paid and 1 ½ times their normal hourly rate. All hours worked on that 7th day after 8 hours is at double-time pay. Everything resets on Monday morning. You cannot pick a different day to pay this “penalty pay” and you also may owe for daily or weekly overtime as usual for the week.
Using this same example of Monday-Sunday as the workweek, if the employee had Monday off, but worked every day for the rest of the week and continued working Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the next week before getting a day off on Thursday (9 days in a row), there is no penalty or 7-day rule pay because the employee had Monday off in one defined work week and Thursday off in the next work week.
The 2 places where we see the most use of the 7-day rule are in harvesting and when an employee switches shifts with another employee. There are also some issues when milkers change from day to night shifts.
Most harvesters work a shorter day on Sunday and this reduces the cost of the 7th day pay.
In your handbook we give notice to employees that they must obtain consent from the supervisor before making any changes to their work with another employee. This is so you have a chance to check and avoid having an employee work all 7 days in the same work week.
Finally, if you are going to have situations when employees work all 7 days, it may be a good idea to include the release form in your employee packet so you have advance notice of your employee’s wishes.
As always, if you have any questions regarding these issues, please contact us at our office number (559) 625-2322 and ask for the client services department or legal department.
You may also obtain more information on our other blog posting “work weeks upheld by California Supreme Court” from May 9, 2017 https://www.hrmobileservices.com/work-weeks-upheld-by-california-supreme-court/