In recent months, Governor Jerry Brown has signed a series of bills providing for limited exceptions to wage and hour laws for specific industries. These bills are AB 1654, AB 2605, and AB 2610.

AB 1654, approved on September 19, 2018, provides an exception to the Private Attorneys General Act (also known as PAGA) for employees in the construction industry who are performing under collective bargaining agreements in effect prior to January 1, 2025. To fall within this exception, the collective bargaining agreement must contain certain provisions, including a provision which prohibits PAGA violations and provides for a grievance and binding arbitration procedure to redress any such violations.

AB 2605, approved on September 20, 2018, provides an exemption to certain employees from rest and recovery period requirements. This exemption applies only to employees who hold a safety-sensitive position at a petroleum facility, and provides that such employees may be required to be on call and carry instant communication devices during their rest periods. Notably, this bill is considered to be an urgency statute, and will take effect immediately.

Finally, AB 2610, approved on July 20, 2018, authorizes certain commercial drivers to commence a meal period after 6 hours of work, so long as the employee's regular rate of pay meets certain minimum wage requirements. This bill applies solely to commercial drivers who are employed by a motor carrier transporting nutrients and byproducts from a licensed commercial feed manufacturer to a customer located in a remote rural location.

These recent changes in California legislation emphasize the importance of employers paying close attention to the specific wage and hour laws governing their particular industry. As California wage and hour laws continue to evolve, the legislature is likely to continue to carve out industry-specific exceptions which may benefit certain employers.

Our Labor & Employment team will continue to provide updates on important employment laws passed in California in the 2018 legislative session. Stay tuned!

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