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Alternative Work Schedules for Private Sector Employers

California labor laws are constantly changing and the concern becomes how to keep up with legislation and timely compliance; and just as important, what are the effective dates.

One topic of interest is the little known (or understood by most employers) California Labor Code § 511. This regulation permits private sector employees to implement alternative workweeks without violating overtime laws.

Employers cannot arbitrarily assign alternative workweeks. There are required steps an employer must go through to have a legally compliant alternative workweek. First, an employer must first “propose” an alternative workweek schedule that is no longer than 10 hours per day (except Healthcare).  Second, the employer must make a written disclosure to the affected employees, including the effects of the proposed arrangement on the employees’ wages, hours, and benefits.  Such a disclosure shall include meeting(s), duly noticed, and held at least 14 days prior to voting, for the specific purpose of discussing the effects of the alternative workweek schedule.

Third, the employees must be allowed to vote via a secret ballot election, during regular working hours and at the employees’ regular work site. The alternative workweek must pass with by at least two-thirds of the affected employees.   Lastly, the results must be reported to the DOL at the address below within 30 days of the vote.

Division of Labor Statistics and Research

Attention: Alternative Workweek Election Results

  1. O. Box 420603, San Francisco, CA 94142


Even though the alternative work schedule passes the vote with the required two-thirds vote the employer must make reasonable effort to find an 8 hour work schedule for those employees who cannot work the alternative work schedule. Once an alternative workweek is in effect, to repeal the workweek another secret ballot election must be held within 30 days of the petition and passes with a two-thirds vote of the affected employees. The employer has 60 days to comply with the new revocation.

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