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Change to wage board for wage order 9
Pursuant to Labor Code sections 1173, 1178, and 1178.5, the Industrial Welfare Commission (hereinafter "IWC"), conducted a preliminary investigation, which included an investigative hearing, regarding public employees covered under wage order 9 who are employed as drivers of commercial vehicles. These employees, although included in some of the provisions of wage order 9, are not covered by the meal and rest period mandatory requirements that now apply to all drivers of commercial vehicles in the private sector. Following the investigation, and as part of its continuing duties to ascertain the wages, hours, and conditions of labor and employment of employees in the state of California, the IWC determined that the current exemption of these employees from mandatory meal and break time requirements may be prejudicial to the health, safety, and welfare of such employees. The IWC has therefore decided to allow a further inquiry into a possible amendment to wage order 9 to include public drivers of commercial vehicles under the current meal and break time requirements of wage order 9. To accomplish this end, the IWC has convened a wage board that has been selected to include an equal number of employee and employer representatives, and a non-voting chairperson, to consider whether any amendments should be made to wage order 9.
The IWC has received public comment regarding this partial exemption via the U.S. mail, hand delivery, and facsimile and electronic transmissions. The IWC has also heard testimony from representatives of this industry at its public meetings. Proponents, including public transit drivers testified that some drivers on public buses are given no regular and mandatory meal and break periods during an eight hour shift but must eat and go to the bathroom as best they can without designated breaks and rest periods. The proponents submitted that this causes great hardship to some drivers and clearly has an adverse impact on the health and welfare of these drivers. They also contend that not requiring meal and rest period breaks can create safety and health problems for riders of public transit and other drivers on the road because drivers are overly tired and hungry during their shifts.
Opponents of including public drivers of commercial vehicles under the meal break and rest period requirements of wage order nine have testified that most transit drivers in the public sector are covered by valid collective bargaining agreements in which meal and break periods have been negotiated to the satisfaction of the employees. They contend also that restricting the employees to the provisions of wage order 9 will hamper the scheduling and timeliness of public transit and cause increased costs to cover all the routes and schedules. They indicate that public transit is already in a financial crisis in the state and that this will increase the financial problems.
The IWC charges you to consider all material provided to you for review, and after your review to report to the IWC your recommendations on the following matter:
1. Should the meal and break period requirements in wage order 9, sections (11) and (12), be amended to include public drivers of commercial vehicles.
2. Should any proposed amendment include language to the effect that the existence of a collective bargaining agreement which provides protections equivalent to the current meal and break period requirements of wage order 9 will satisfy the meal and break period requirements of the wage order.
Title 8, California Code of Regulations §11534 provides in part that the wage board shall consider such data as is submitted to it by the IWC, and that any additional information necessary to the deliberations of the wage board shall be furnished by the IWC upon request of the chairperson of the wage board, insofar as feasible. The information provided by the IWC will include transcripts of testimony, and other documents previously presented to the IWC. The IWC requests that the wage board review these materials prior to the date of its first meeting.