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Your Legal Corner - Client Alert Blog

New Penalties for Failing to Provide 5 Minute Shade Breaks to Outdoor Workers

Written By: Melissa C. Marsh, Esq., California Attorney, October 2013 Add to Favorites
Under current law, California Labor Code section 226.7 requires California employers to pay one hour of additional wages for each missed meal or rest break. SB 435, signed into law on October 10, 2013, amends Labor Code 226.7, to require the payment of one hour of additional wages for any missed heat related illness “recovery period” (shade break) not provided to an outside worker when requested if the temperature exceeds 85 degrees.

Effective January 1, 2014, California employers will be required to pay an additional hour of wages for each day the employer fails to provide a required “recovery period” (shade break) to avoid heat-related illness to employees who work outside when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees.

Cal-OSHA regulations require California employers to protect their outdoor employees from the hazard of heat illness when the temperatures exceed 85 degrees. Under the regulations, California employers must allow, encourage and in effect provide their outdoor employees with access to shade when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees for at least five minutes on an as needed basis as often and whenever an employee feels the need to do so to protect him or herself from overheating.

The regulations do not set forth how often employees can take such 5 minute cool-down rest periods. Further, the regulations do not specify under what, if any, conditions the employer could deny a request for an additional shade break. It is therefore presumed that the 5 minute shade “recovery periods” must be provided to outdoor employees when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees as often as the affected employee requests it.


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Located in Los Angeles, California, the Law Office of Melissa C. Marsh handles business law and corporation law matters as a lawyer for clients throughout Los Angeles including Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Woodland Hills, Hollywood, West LA as well as Riverside County, San Fernando, Ventura County, and Santa Clarita. Attorney Melissa C. Marsh has considerable experience handling business matters both nationally and internationally. We routinely assist our clients with incorporation, forming a California corporation, forming a California llc, partnership, annual minutes, shareholder meetings, director meetings, getting a taxpayer ID number (EIN), buying a business, selling a business, commercial lease review, employee disputes, independent contractors, construction, and personal matters such as preparing a will, living trust, power of attorney, health care directive, and more.