Everyone knows hospitals are stressful spaces, particularly for those working inside.  However, public sector hospital employees were forced to contend with slightly greater stress than their private sector counterparts.  This is because, historically, public sector hospital workers were not entitled to protected rest and meal breaks.  Beginning in 2023, that is set to change as SB 1334 takes effect.  This change will improve worker morale and health, reduce fatigue, and positively impact patient care.

The Labor Code now expressly provides protected rest and meal breaks for public sector hospital workers.  California Labor Code § 512.1.  Once the law takes effect, public sector hospital workers will be entitled to one unpaid thirty (30) minute meal break on shifts over five (5) hours, and a second unpaid thirty (30) minute meal break on shifts over ten (10) hours.  Further, the worker is entitled to a ten (10) minute rest break on shifts of at least four (4) hours, and a second ten (10) minute rest break on shifts of at least eight (8) hours.

As with any rest and meal break claim, public sector hospital workers may now obtain an hour of premium pay per violation per day.

Public sector hospitals include state, county, municipal, and political subdivisions of the state.  California Labor Code § 512.1(e)(2).  Additionally, the Regents of the University of California are covered under this law, empowering UC hospital employees to sue their employer.

Please note that this law does not cover public sector hospital workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement providing rest and meal breaks.  California Labor Code § 512.1(d).  However, if the collective bargaining agreement does not include a money remedy commensurate with the remedies provided under the Labor Code, then Labor Code section 512.1 applies.

If your public (or private) sector hospital employer has violated your California rest and meal break rights, contact Astanehe Law.  Astanehe Law has experience representing California employees who have suffered California Labor Code violations, including rest and meal break violations.  Astanehe Law represents clients on a contingency fee basis.  Call (415) 226-7170 or email contact@astanehelaw.com.