Setting Up an Alternative Workweek in California
August 13, 2014
The California Labor Code has some flexibility when it comes to employee work schedules, with the “Alternative Workweek Schedule.” Generally an employer must pay employees time-and-a-half when they work over eight hours but under 12 hours in one day, over 40 hours in one week, and up to eight hours on a seventh consecutive day in one week. Hours worked beyond these categories require a double-time payment.
An AWS allows for a longer workday before overtime liability kicks in. Under an AWS, an employer must pay employees overtime at one and one-half times their regular rate when they work more than 10 hours (but under 12 hours) in one day, more than 40 hours in one week, and up to eight hours on any day beyond those set by the AWS.
The AWS must be properly adopted and implemented, as failure to do so can lead to significant liability for overtime wages.
To properly adopt an AWS, there are four basic steps. First the employer must present a proposal in the form of a written agreement to the “affected employees in the work unit.” Next, the employer must hold a meeting to explain the effects of the AWS on the affected employees’ wages, hours and benefits.
Then the employer must hold a secret ballot election at the job site, during normal work hours and on-the-clock. Election results must be reported to the California Department of Industrial Relations within 30 days.
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