Employers can Schedule Split Shifts (Sometimes) Without Paying Penalty

By: Sam G. Sherman, Esq.

In Aleman v. Airtouch Cellular the Second District Court of Appeals issued a win for employers interested in scheduling hourly employees for split shifts. California’s wage orders define a split shift as “a work schedule, which is interrupted by non-paid non-working periods established by the employer, other than bona fide rest or meal periods.” The wage orders state: “When an employee works a split shift, one (1) hour’s pay at the minimum wage shall be paid in addition to the minimum wage for that workday…” Many employers avoid scheduling split shifts due to the cost of paying the extra hour of compensation.

Plaintiff inAlemancontended he was due an extra hour of compensation for five separate days that his employer required him to work a split shift. Airtouch defended by claiming that, since the amount it paid Aleman exceeded the minimum wage plus the split shift differential, it owed him no additional compensation. The Court agreed and denied plaintiff any recovery.

Whether Aleman allows an employer to schedule split shifts without paying the additional hour of compensation is, obviously, a function of the hourly rate and the length of the shift. We certainly recommend contacting an attorney to determine whether Aleman prevents your company from having to pay a split shift differential before scheduling such shifts.

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