IR #2005-10
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

Dean Fryer
Renée Bacchini

DLSE to hold meal period hearing tomorrow in Fresno

SAN FRANCISCO - The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) will hold a public hearing tomorrow at 9:00a.m. in Fresno on the proposed regulations governing meal periods for California workers. This is the last of three public hearings to be held throughout the state. The location is: Fresno State Building, 2550 Mariposa Mall, Room 1036, Fresno, CA 93721.

DLSE submitted proposed regulations last December to address the subtle change of intent contained in the language in AB 60 from that of language contained in the Industrial Welfare Commission orders. AB 60 was signed into law in 1999, but without specific regulatory implementation. Several of the Industrial Welfare Commission orders contained language that required employers to ensure that workers actually took 30-minute meal periods. Under the provisions of AB 60, employers must simply provide the opportunity for a 30-minute lunch period. The subtle change in the language has caused serious confusion among both employers and employees in California and has resulted in enforcement difficulties for DLSE.

"The proposed rules seek to eliminate the confusion and ambiguities for both employees and employers while allowing DLSE the means to provide consistency in their enforcement procedures," said John Rea, acting director of the Department of Industrial Relations, which oversees DLSE. "If approved, the changes will clear up uncertainty in the business community, give workers more flexibility with their schedules, and the choice to eat when they're hungry rather than when the government tells them they have to."

"Equally as important is what the proposed regulations don't do," Rea said. "They don't take away an employee's right to a 30-minute meal period; they don't relieve employers from any existing mandates; and they don't take away employee break periods."

The Fresno hearing is open to all interested individuals. For those who cannot attend, any person may submit written comments to DLSE by 5:00 p.m. on March 2, 2005. All comments must be submitted in writing (by mail, FAX or E-mail) and received by that time at DLSE's headquarters office. Submit comments to: Allen Perlof, Senior Deputy Labor Commissioner, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, 9th Floor West, P.O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142. E-mail comments to or FAX to (415) 703-4807.