SB 435 Bill Signed: Expands One Hour Pay Penalty to Include Missed “Recovery Periods” or Cool-Down Periods

Labor Code 226.7 provides that an employee should receive one hour of pay as a penalty for not receiving rest or meal periods in accordance with California law. On October 10, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law SB 435 which expands the one hour of pay penalty to included missed “recovery periods” meaning a cool-down period afforded an employee to prevent heat illness.  The new law applies to any meal, rest or recovery period mandated by applicable statute, regulation, standard, or order of the California IWC, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (OSHSB), or the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA).

Employers may want to consider reviewing the CA OSHA resources for preventing heat illness. For example, when the outdoor temperature exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit, CA OSHA mandates a recovery period of not less than 5 minutes for employees who work outside to take a cool-down rest, in the shade, to protect themselves from overheating.  The new law will likely lead to an increase in litigation. As a result, employers should review their procedures and policies.