Senate Labor says "No" to flex-work week for CA Employees

Berryhill Flex-Work Week Legislation Killed in Senate Labor
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sacramento – Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte) announces the defeat of Senate Bill 368, the California Workplace Flexibility Act.  SB 368 would have given employees and employers the ability to adopt a mutually agreeable alternative workweek schedule. The Senate Labor and Industrial Relations defeated the bill on a party line vote despite testimony from multiple employers and Human Resource experts that the current system does not give employees and employers the flexibility to devise flexible work schedules.

“This small change in the law would make things so much easier for folks,” said Berryhill. “SB 368 would have given employees more time with their families and a better balance between work and family life. Families are left juggling time between two working parents, school schedules and family obligations. More flexibility just makes sense.”

Under federal law, in California's bordering states, and in nearly every other state except California, it is simple for employers and employees to adopt “alternative workweeks” such as 4-10’s, or 3/12’s. Working a four-day workweek can provide for up to 50 extra days off each year for the average full-time employee. In California, however, the system is complicated, and requires employers to jump through multiple hoops designed to stymie any flexibility. Ultimately this process discourages any possibility of choosing schedule options such as flextime, part-time, job sharing, telecommuting and compressed workweeks.

“Job retention is just as important as job creation,” said Berryhill. “Hamstringing an employer from accommodating an employee’s scheduling needs puts California employers at a disadvantage in comparison to neighboring states.  Rejecting this measure makes it that much harder for California’s businesses to hang onto good employees.”

Surveys have shown the biggest threat to their organizations’ success is attracting and retaining the best employees.  HR professionals believe the best way to recruit good talent is to provide flexibility in the workplace.

Michael Letizia, California Past State Director for the Society for Human Resource Management testified that CALSHRM and SHRM strongly support efforts to assist employees in meeting the dual demands of work and personal needs. He shared:

“Onerous and excessive requirements of the current wage and hour laws in California…are simply outside the scope of “reasonable” for a majority of small to medium sized employers, and so those employees seeking help or accommodation in the private sector are consistently told “NO”. We applaud Senator Berryhill for his continued efforts to advance work-flex legislation that would benefit thousands and thousands of lower paid, non-exempt employees in California.”

The measure is supported by a broad pro-business coalition, including: California Chamber of Commerce, California Retailers Association, California League of Food Processors, Society for Human Resource Management, and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.