SB 276 would explicitly clarify that certain labor code provisions regarding overtime requirements which already apply to the private sector, shall also apply to employees of the legislature.
Existing labor code specifies the state minimum hourly wage, when employees must receive overtime pay, when meal and rest breaks must be provided, what information must be included on pay stubs, and what steps employers must take to provide a safe and healthy workplace. The code also specifically outlines overtime requirements and charges the Industrial Welfare Commission with the responsibility for reviewing and specifying exemptions from these requirements.
Campbell v Regents of University of California (2005) affirmed the notion that the provisions of the Labor Code apply only to employees in the private sector unless they are specifically made applicable to public employees. As such, legislative employees are not entitled to many protections specified in the Labor Code, including overtime requirements.
While most other state employees have their own mandated collective bargaining processes to negotiate conditions appropriate for state work, these processes have not been implemented for legislative employees due to the potential conflict of interest risks that are uniquely present in the policy-making process. The legislature began addressing these workplace protections gaps by establishing the Workplace Conduct Unit in 2019 as recourse for workplace discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. However, protections relating to working hours in the legislature have yet to be addressed.
SB 276 maintains basic labor equality by ensuring the same overtime protections that are currently enjoyed by private employees pursuant to Labor Code Section 510 are also extended to legislative employees.