California Amends Alternative Workweek Law

As part of California's recent budget compromise, the Legislature made welcome revisions / clarifications to the law governing "alternative workweek arrangements." These arrangements are the authorized exemptions to "daily overtime" law.

The bill, AB 5, amends Labor Code section 511. Presumably, the DLSE will revise its manual and the IWC will issue revised wage orders.

First, the law defines what counts as a "work unit" for having the vote for the alternative workweek arrangement:

For purposes of this section, “work unit” includes a division, a department, a job classification, a shift, a separate physical location, or a recognized subdivision thereof. A work unit may consist of an individual employee as long as the criteria for an identifiable work unit in this section is met.

The new law also expressly allows employers to give employees the right to vote on a "menu of options" that includes not only "alternative workweek" schedules (such as 4/10 hour days) but also an eight hour per day option. That will likely result in a lot more votes for passage.

The law also permits employees to move from one option to another weekly. That will give employees the option of working 4/10 one week and then 5/8 the next week if the employer consents.

Here is the statute.