IR #98-27
Wednesay, July 22, 1998

Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

California Supreme Court Upholds Changes in Overtime Rules

SAN FRANCISCO -- John C. Duncan, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations, expressed his satisfaction at today's announcement by the California Supreme Court denying the AFL/CIO's petition for a writ of review filed earlier this year in an effort to challenge the Industrial Welfare Commission's (IWC) overtime rules. By denying the petition, the Court let stand a lower court decision which found that the rules permitting overtime to be paid after 40 hours of work in a week, rather than on a daily basis, were appropriately adopted by the Industrial Welfare Commission and are not in conflict with other state laws.

"We are quite pleased by today's ruling and satisfied that the court has clearly sided with California employees," said Duncan. "The overtime rules held intact by this decision will enable Californians to enjoy what the federal government and 47 other states already have--flexible work weeks."

The law suit was originally filed by the California Labor Federation/AFL-CIO. It argued that the Legislature had indirectly adopted the Industrial Welfare Commission's 1980 time-and-a-half pay rules into state law, thus eliminating the commission's authority to repeal them. On May 8, 1998, the First District Court of Appeal upheld a ruling by San Francisco Superior Court that stated the legislature had not either directly, nor indirectly, required the IWC to mandate daily overtime.

"Today's decision is a victory for California workers, especially working parents who may need flexibility to balance family responsibilities with work schedules," said Duncan.

In April, 1997, after months of public hearings and in response to volumes of written testimony, the IWC voted to require that overtime be paid after a 40-hour workweek rather than on a daily basis for most California workers. Testimony and comments revealed that the daily overtime requirement has hindered the ability of many employers to permit flexible scheduling for their employees and has resulted in rigid eight-hour workdays and five day work schedules which many families no longer find beneficial.

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