FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR # 97-63
Tuesday, December 29, 1997

CONTACT:
Rick Rice
Dean Fryer
(415) 972-8835

Q&A - "Stretched for Time???"
PREGUNTAS QUE SE HACEN CON MÁS FRECUENCIA SOBRE LA SEMANA LABORAL DE "40 HORAS" DE CALIFORNIA
Have you ever called in sick...
Why not let an employee stay home today?


THE "YEAR OF THE THREE-DAY WEEKEND" MAY BE UPON US -- FLEXIBILITY AWAITS MANY CALIFORNIA WORKERS ON JANUARY 1

SAN FRANCISCO -- California's new overtime regulations that take effect on January 1, 1998 will make it easier and more affordable for many employers to offer alternate work schedules and flexible hours to their employees, said John Duncan, Acting Director of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

"1998 might become known as the 'year of the three-day weekend'," Duncan said. "This change will have immediate benefits for many California workers who want to work alternate work schedules but had been stalled because their employers were restricted by California's obsolete laws," he added.

The change requires employers to pay premium pay to employees for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a week, rather than after eight hours in a day. According to a study by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, most overtime hours reported in California are those worked in excess of 40 hours in a week. The study indicated that employers were averse to permitting longer days and shorter work weeks because of the high daily cost. The change in overtime rules will erase that objection, and provide more incentive to employers to permit flexible scheduling.

"The four-day/ten-hour option can be a reality," Duncan noted. "Flexible scheduling can also provide a simple way to increase company loyalty while making a business more productive and competitive."

"Also important is the environmental impact of alternate work weeks and flexible scheduling. A study conducted by the University of Southern California shows that such scheduling eases traffic during commute hours, resulting in less pollution in urban areas," Duncan said.

The change in overtime regulations affects the majority of California's workforce, who are employed under five of the state's 15 Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders. These are:

No other industries or occupations are affected by the changes and the new rules do not apply to workers who are under collective bargaining contracts if the contracts specify hours of work and overtime pay requirements.

"There are plenty of reasons for employers to offer alternate work weeks and flexible work hours," Duncan said. "It is an excellent recruitment tool for attracting quality employees and also tends to improve employee morale since it can help them balance family obligations with work."

The Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders, which are effective January 1, 1998, have already been mailed to employers. Every employer is required to have the appropriate wage orders posted at their workplace. Those employers who do not yet have a copy of the orders may obtain them through several means:

For specific questions, the public may contact the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) public information number nearest them for further information. The telephone numbers for DLSE are:

CitiesTelephone Numbers
San Francisco
Sacramento
Los Angeles
San Diego
415-557-7878
916-323-4920
213-620-6330
619-467-3002

The public may also e-mail specific questions to info@dir.ca.gov. Those doing so are asked to provide their name and telephone number in case more information is needed for proper response.

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