Rick Rice (LA)
SAN FRANCISCO -- In response to expeditious repair of freeways damaged in the Northridge earthquake, Governor Pete Wilson has modified his Executive Order suspending daily overtime requirements in five counties affected by the earthquake, Director Lloyd W. Aubry, Jr. has announced.
Executive Order W-84-94, issued on April 25, modifies the earlier order so that the suspension of daily overtime requirements after eight hours applies only to Los Angeles and Ventura counties. In order to give employers time to adapt to the change, the order is effective May 15, 1994. In those counties, as with the earlier order, the suspension does not apply to public employers, and employers covered by collective bargaining agreements. Likewise, the order does not affect weekly overtime requirements.
On January 20, the Governor issued Executive Order W-75-94. This order, invoking the Governor's emergency authority, suspended daily overtime requirements after eight hours for private employers in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties. Requirements that weekly overtime be paid after 40 hours were not affected. Because of the emergency caused by serious traffic disruptions from the collapse of several major freeways during the earthquake, the Governor's order allowed employers to schedule flexible work schedules and reduce commuting without the cost penalty of daily overtime, as employees would be working the same number of weekly hours.
"As the expeditious and safe reopening of the Santa Monica Freeway demonstrated, recovery efforts are proceeding rapidly," Aubry said. "The traffic situation has improved and the emergency has alleviated somewhat. As a result, the Governor has responded accordingly and narrowed the scope of the suspension of daily overtime requirements."
Aubry emphasized that the need to reduce commuting -- through flexible schedules and/or alternative transportation -- remains. "The emergency situation with traffic has improved, but it has not returned to normal," he said. "Several main freeway arteries remain closed. The Governor's Executive Order facilitates the ability of employers in those areas to implement flexible work hours without the cost penalty of daily overtime."
As an example of flexible work hours, Aubry said that an employer may work 10 hours a day for four days a week, rather than the traditional eight hours a day for five days a week. The amount of time worked in a week remains the same, but traffic is reduced as the employee saves one day of commuting.
Aubry added that employers in Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties who implemented flexible work schedules under the prior Executive Order need to be aware that daily overtime requirements will apply again on May 15.
Executive Order W-84-94 will remain in effect until another Executive Order modifies or withdraws it, or upon the reopening to normal traffic of all freeways in Los Angeles and Ventura counties affected by the earthquake.
A copy of Executive Order W-84-94 is attached.