California State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) recently introduced Senate Bill 607, reviving efforts to permit employers and employees to agree on flexible work schedules, such as four 10-hour days per week. Unionized workplaces already allow employees to elect to work four 10-hour days; SB 607, if enacted into law, would extend this flexibility to non-unionized workplaces.
Under federal law, and in neighboring states, employers and employees are allowed to adopt flexible work schedules such as four 10-hour days per week. However, California Labor Code section 510 requires employers to pay non-unionized employees overtime for any work in excess of eight hours in one workday – regardless of the number of hours worked in a week. This of course discourages employers from agreeing to flexible work schedules involving work in excess of eight hours per day.
SB 607, if enacted, would provide an exception to section 510. It would allow non-unionized employees to maintain flexible work schedules, provided the employee submits a request in writing, and the employer approves the request. An employer would be permitted to inform its employees that it is amenable to consider requests for flexible schedules; it would not be able to require employees to adopt flexible schedules or promise benefits to employees for doing so.
Employees working pursuant to a flexible schedule would be permitted to work up to 10 hours in a workday without obligating the employer to pay overtime. An employer would still be obligated to pay overtime for all hours worked in excess of 10 in a workday or 40 in a workweek. Either the employer or employee would be able to terminate the flexible schedule by written notice.
The Bill was recently referred to the State Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations.