Nancy “Niki” Lubrano, Partner & Co-Chair of CDF's Class Action Defense Litigation Practice Group, recently authored the article “Scheduling Employees To Work In California: Easier Said Than Done – Tips on California wage and hour compliance,” for the Workforce Management Time and Attendance February 2023 edition.
"Scheduling problems plague managers and business owners regularly, especially in California with its complex set of wage and hour laws. There are the day-to-day practical issues (i.e., callouts, no-call no-shows, and tardiness) that employers must deal with, and there are the legal pitfalls that businesses often do not see coming when they are simply trying to manage staff, satisfy customers, and keep the business running.
This article discusses some of those issues and ways to avoid legal blind spots, as well as practical tips on workforce management.
Scheduling And Legal Blind Spots
Alternative work week schedules (“AWS”): Sometimes, to be accommodating, employers are agreeable to alternative work schedules without knowing that such accommodations have serious legal ramifications.
California employers may create an AWS which allows their employees to work a daily schedule in excess of an eight-hour workday (usually four 10-hour days, instead of five 8-hour days) and avoid some overtime, but not all, overtime.
Implementing an AWS requires strict adherence to state guidelines. Failure to follow the required procedures will invalidate the schedule and expose the employer to unpaid wage liability, plus interest, civil penalties, and attorneys’ fees.
While the recently proposed federal legislation has been aimed at creating more flexibility in scheduling workers, particularly due to the increase in remote work, California laws require careful consideration. Likewise, flexible schedules may boost employee morale, improve attendance, increase productivity, and help with recruiting and retention, but such flexibility must be balanced against the complexities and challenges of complying with California’s employment laws and the costly consequences of non-compliance.
Thus, California employers should exercise extreme caution when considering the implementation of flexible work schedules and consult with counsel."
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