California: Supreme Court Spells Out “Day of Rest” Rules

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May 18, 2017

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In Mendoza v. Nordstrom, the California Supreme Court clarified the application of the “day of rest” rule as set forth by the California Labor Code.  Generally, employers cannot require employees to work more than six days in a seven-day workweek, unless the employee’s working hours do not exceed 30 hours in one workweek or six hours in any one day.  The California Supreme Court provided guidance on the finer operational points of this “day of rest” rule, summarized below.

Clarification on working “six days in seven.” The “day of rest” provision is not applied on a rolling basis to each consecutive seven-day period.  Rather, the Court stated that a day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek, and periods of more than six consecutive days that fall across more than one workweek are not prohibited.  A “workweek” is the seven-day period as defined by the employer (e.g., Monday through Sunday, or Sunday through Saturday).

Clarification on how the exemption applies.  The “day of rest” rule applies if the employee meets either of two conditions: (A) the employee works more than six hours on any single day during the workweek, or (B) the employee works more than 30 hours total during the workweek.

Clarification on what it means to “cause” an employee to work more than six days in seven.  The Court stated that employers may “permit” employees to work more than six days in the workweek, but cannot “motivate” or “induce” the employee to do so.  For example, an employer could offer workers the opportunity to volunteer for an additional shift on the seventh day of work, but cannot preemptively schedule or require an employee to do so as a condition of employment.  Employees must be notified of their right to the day of rest, and should be made aware that they will not be penalized for declining the opportunity to work additional shifts.

 Action Items

  1. Review scheduling practices to ensure employees are not required to work all seven days in a workweek, unless the employee voluntarily elects to do so.
  2. Arrange for training of managers on scheduling practices consistent with this ruling.
  3. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2017 ManagEase, Incorporated.

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