For years and years, the traditional 40-hour/week work schedule has meant working for five eight-hour days every single week, usually Monday through Friday. In more recent years, however, a lot of businesses have recognized the advantages of allowing alternative work schedules for their workers. Some of the perks included higher satisfaction with their overall job, higher employee spirits, more chances to participate in public service, less time off requested for doctor visits and child-related responsibilities, and many more.
There are a lot of things that are causing employees to strongly prefer an alternative working schedule to the conventional nine-to-five. One of the most prevalent alternative schedules is working for four ten-hour days each week, allowing employees to consistently enjoy a three-day weekend.
The overtime laws in the State of California, however, conventionally obligate companies to pay their employees overtime rates, time-and-a-half of their regular hourly pay, for any time that they worked in a single day that exceeded eight hours.
In current years, the government modified California law to incorporate current trends in employment, hoping this would enable and even encourage companies to offer alternative workweek schedules to all of their employees without having to pay any overtime rates.
Employers must be very attentive in ensuring that they are complying with all applicable laws when offering an alternative workweek schedule to their employees in order to circumvent any accidental liability. If you are entertaining the possibility of allowing an alternative workweek schedule, it is always a smart idea to first meet with an accomplished and reputable attorney who specializes in employment law.
Rules for Alternative 40-Hour Schedules
The one major drawback here is that the rules concerning an alternative workweek schedule are a bit complicated. If an employer wants to legitimately provide an alternative workweek schedule and not end up paying regular overtime, then they have to satisfy several different guidelines and criteria.
The first action that an employer should take is to suggest alternative scheduling to their workers and let them have a vote on whether or not they would like to have this opportunity made available to them. Employers in the State of California are permitted to propose any of the following:
- A single set schedule, like the aforementioned four days a week working ten-hour days
- A range of various agreeable schedules from which the workers are allowed to select the one that they prefer
- Healthcare employees who are involved in patient care may be offered 12-hour days
All businesses have to produce disclosures pertaining to the predicted impacts that may be caused by the alternative workweek schedule, including any expected impact on salaries, hourly wages, or employee benefits. The employees will then be required to hold an election at work where they will vote for or against the alternative workweek schedule. Should the outcome of the vote be in favor of a new schedule, the employer must then communicate the decision to the Department of Industrial Relations and wait a minimum of 30 days before they put the new scheduling into effect.
Once executed, it is important for employees to strictly abide by the established alternative workweek schedule. For instance, if the new schedule includes working from Tuesday to Friday, then those employees will not be permitted to work on Mondays. Should a company not adequately enforce the alternative schedule, then the Department of Industrial Relations could potentially declare the company responsible for any back overtime wages and might enforce fines against the company. You will also be risking the loss of all of the advantages of the alternative scheduling statutes and risking being hit with punishments and civil liabilities as well.
California Business Attorney
If you are thinking about implementing an alternative workweek schedule at your company, you do not want to delay in meeting with a qualified employment attorney from the Leiva Law Group. We can make sure that you thoroughly understand the ups and downs of this new plan, as well as assist you in executing your new schedule, all while ensuring that you are in agreement with these complex laws. Our attorneys speak English and Spanish so please contact us by calling (818) 703-1777 or reach out to us on our website with any questions or concerns that you might have.