New California Penalty for Missed “Recovery Periods”

Governor Brown signed into Law SB 435 on October 10, 2013. This law essentially extends the penalty available against employers when an employee is not allowed to enjoy a Meal Period to “Recovery Periods,” i.e., a penalty equivalent to one hour of work.  A Recovery Period is defined as “a cool down period afforded an employee to prevent heat illness” authorized by a governmental agency.

The CA OSHA has a mandate to prevent heat illness that requires employees who work outside a recovery period of no less than five minutes if outside temperature is over 85 degrees. In such cases, employers should be mindful of the need to make the Recovery Period available to employees and that there is a penalty if employees are prevented from taking a Recovery Period.