Los Angeles, CA (PressExposure) July 27, 2007 -- The Supreme Court of the State of California, U.S.A. issued a new ruling, which would increase the cost employers have to face if they fail to grant their non-exempt employees with regular rest and meal breaks. These benefits are rightfully provided for employees according to a state statute. According to the Labor Code of California, Section 226.7, when an employer fails to grant non-exempt employees with rest breaks or meal periods they rightfully deserve, the employee can be entitled to a one hour of pay for every break period missed.
Los Angeles, California, June 18, 2007 - The new ruling has evoked several debates and arguments during the past years. The main issue is whether the "one hour of pay" is considered as a penalty for the employer or a wage payment for hours worked. The former would be subject to a statute of limitations for one year while the latter is subject for a statute of limitations of 3 years, respectively.
This issue was resolved when the Supreme Court of California gave its decision on the case "Murphy vs. Kenneth Cole Productions" last April 16, 2007. The decision was that the "one hour of pay" is wage payment that is subject to a retroactive payment of three years. This decision thereby expands the liability of employers regarding violations of the statutes providing for employee's right to meal breaks and rest periods.
The decision given by the Supreme Court was determined based on the Section 226.7 legislation history. According to its legislative agenda, it intends to give premium compensation for employees for their time worked during breaks and not as punishment for the employer. The Court also announced that if the Legislature had intended for the Section 226.7 to become a penalty, they would have labeled it as so.
The Court contends that their decision was the interpretation of the statute's content suggesting, in plain terms, that the additional "hour of pay" is indeed a wage.