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Healthcare 12-hour shift meal period waiver California

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  • Healthcare 12-hour shift meal period waiver California

    I work for a company that sells time & attendance software to hospitals. I work in customer support. We encourage, but don't require, California hospitals to automate the payment of missed meal penalties in our system.

    I often advise sites on the best practices for California law. Are there any California law experts who can help with a question? Most hospitals have nurses work 12-hour shifts and they sign a document indicating that they will waive their 2nd meal period (a 2nd meal period would be required for a shift of 10 hours or greater). Recently, they have talking about which meal is waived. Assuming (big assumption) is it legal to agree to waive a meal period in healthcare, is it OK to assume the employee is waiving whichever meal they did not take or must it be a specific meal period ("I agree to waive my 1st meal period" or "I agree to waive my 2nd meal period")?

    I read your site everyday to keep up to date and always appreciate your thoughful answers. Thank you.

  • #2
    There has been some past discussion on this issue in the past, with some disagreement among the responders.

    http://laborlawtalk.com/showthread.php?t=175324
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      Controversy in CA meal period law...

      ...yes, the posts in that previous thread sound like the discussions with our clients when we have conference calls involving payroll, legal counsel and ourselves.

      California AB60, which addresses this, says:

      "SEC. 6. Section 512 is added to the Labor Code, to read:
      512. An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee. An employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than 10 hours per day without providing the employee with a second meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee only if the first meal period was not waived."

      So, I think that an employee can waive only the 2nd meal period if they take the 1st one and the shift can't EXCEED 12 hours. The details of this law are very difficult for employers and employees to understand, as you can see!

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      • #4
        Hospitals are covered by CA Wage Order 5. This wage order has a special exemption for 12-hour shift healthcare workers - they can waive one of their 2 meal periods (see section 11(d)).

        http://www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/IWCArticle5.pdf

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        • #5
          Thank you very much.

          Thank you very much.

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