Dec. 22, 2004 The Meal and Rest Period Regulations Saga Continues . . .

As we reported in an E-Update last week, on December 10, 2004, the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) filed proposed emergency regulations with the California Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) regarding meal and rest periods. The OAL had until December 20, 2004, to approve or disapprove of these regulations. As stated in our prior E-Update, these regulations could have provided significant relief to employers on meal and rest period issues. (For a review of the substance of the regulations, see our last E-Update.) So, what happened to the regulations?

Late on December 20, 2004, the DLSE withdrew the proposed emergency regulations amidst significant pressure from labor unions and the plaintiffs’ bar. Then, the DLSE submitted the same proposed regulations to the regular rulemaking process. This means that we will not know whether these regulations will be adopted for some time. In the meantime, the public comment period on these regulations is set forth on the DLSE website.

On the same day that it withdrew the emergency regulation, the DLSE distributed a memorandum regarding meal and rest periods. The memorandum specifically disavowed several past opinion letters, leaving meal and rest period law in flux.

What this Means:

Although employers may not have immediate relief, these actions certainly provide an insight into a new direction for the DLSE. For now, it is advisable to keep your current practices in place, however, we will keep you updated on the status of these regulations and how they affect your workplace.

This E-Update was drafted by Melissa Listug Klick and Michael Sullivan. For more information, please contact Ms. Listug Klick, Mr. Sullivan or any Paul, Plevin attorney at 619-237-5200.