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Chico Workers Comp: Pay Premiums Required for Missed Recovery Periods


Posted on Nov 11, 2013

Eight years ago, Cal-OSHA responded to the rising number of heat-related illnesses and deaths among California workers by establishing a new regulation for employers. According to the rule, California employers:

  • Must provide a shaded area for all outdoor workers.
  • Must provide access to nearby shade when temperatures exceed 85 degrees.
  • Must “allow and encourage” outdoor workers “recovery periods” of no less than five minutes at the worker’s digression.

Recovery periods, in relation to the Cal-OSHA requirements, are “a cool down period afforded to an employee to prevent heat illness.”

This October, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 435, an amendment to Labor Code section 226.7. It offers further accountability to outdoor workers by saying that they must not be forced to work during a meal, rest, or recovery period. Employers who violate the new regulation must give affected employees a full hour of premium pay.

Starting January 1, 2014, workers must receive a single hour of premium pay for each missed meal period, a separate hour of premium pay for each missed rest period, and now a separate hour of premium pay for every missed recovery period.

Because there is no language in the 2005 regulation limiting the number of recovery periods an employer can allow, the amendment is bound to cause controversy—and litigation.

If you’ve suffered a severe heat-related injury and unsure of your rights under California workers’ compensation law, reach out to a Chico workplace injury attorney for a free consultation today. Call 888-761-7383 or fill out our online form. Also, remember to order our free book, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual.

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Thomas Ledgerwood
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