IR# 96-05
Monday, January 29, 1996

Louis Bonsignore
(415) 972-8835

Duncan Challenges Assemblymember 's
Attack on Daily Overtime Reform and AB 398

SAN FRANCISCO -- Following the press conference on daily overtime reform by former Assembly Labor and Employment Committee Chair Wally Knox (D-Los Angeles), DIR Chief Deputy Director John Duncan issued the following statement:

"Simply put, Mr. Knox's campaign against daily overtime reform is disingenuous. Let's not forget that this same member, when he chaired the Assembly Labor committee, called AB 398 unnecessary because the Industrial Welfare Commission could accomplish the same reform through its rulemaking. Mr. Knox called on the Governor to direct the IWC to consider a change. Then, he attempted to insert budget language to prohibit the IWC from expending any funds to review daily overtime rules. Now, when he attacks the IWC's review of daily overtime, let's remember who suggested it.

""Let's look at the facts that Mr. Knox conveniently ignores. While AB 398 would eliminate daily overtime, it maintains the state's 40 hour overtime standard. California simply would be conforming to almost all other states and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

"Given the contention that daily overtime is such an American tradition, can Mr. Knox explain why Congress never has enacted it nationally and states aren't scurrying to join California in imposing such a mandate?

"Mr. Knox points to proposed FLSA reform in Washington as jeopardizing all overtime if AB 398 passes. What Mr. Knox either ignores or does not know is that existing IWC orders require weekly overtime already. This is rather curious since last week his staff called the IWC to confirm the existing 40 hour overtime rule in the IWC orders -- and there are no proposals even under consideration to change those weekly overtime rules. Thus, even if Washington repealed the weekly overtime rule in the FLSA, it would not impact California.

"Mr. Knox has asserted repeatedly that AB 398 could cause employers to force employees to work 20-hour shifts. That idea is ludicrous. If the concern is genuine, where are the examples rampant in the other states that do not have daily overtime? And, as Mr. Knox admitted today at his press conference, he cannot even tell you what other states' daily overtime requirements are.

"The Department of Industrial Relations has sponsored AB 398 to provide employees and employers flexibility in scheduling to reduce and stagger commuting times and enable workers to meet family obligations. Our legislation is a win-win for employees and employers and for California's economic competitiveness. "