Security Officers Can Now Remain On-Call During Rest Breaks; What This Means for All California Employers

Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP

Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP

If your workforce includes private security officers, then new Assembly Bill 1512 should come as great news to you. Back in 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision called Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. which held that ABM’s security officers were not afforded legally compliant, off-duty rest breaks as long as they were required to carry pagers and respond to emergencies on an “as needed” basis. Citing the “public interest that security officers are able to respond to emergency situations without delay”, California’s new AB 1512 abrogates Augustus as it applies to security officers only.  Now, security officers who are registered pursuant to the Private Security Services Act have their own set of rest break rules under AB 1512. 

AB 1512 amends California Labor Code section 226.7 to permit employers to require their private security officers “to remain on the premises during rest periods and to remain on call and carry and monitor a communication device, during rest periods.”  If a rest period is “interrupted,” the amendment requires that the security officer be permitted to restart the 10-minute rest period as soon as practicable. “Interrupted,” as defined in the amendment, means being called upon to return to active duty before completing the rest period, but does not include simply being on the premises, remaining on-call, or monitoring any communication devices.   

What does AB 1512 mean for California employers who have a workforce that includes persons who are not security guards?  It serves as a reminder that the California Supreme Court and the California Legislature have clearly established that an employer must not interfere with rest breaks, including by imposing a requirement that an employee remain on the premises, answer the phone or monitor or carry equipment. To do so will trigger premium pay obligations of an additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each day that a rest break is not provided. 

AB 1512 became effective immediately upon Governor Newsom’s signature on September 30, 2020. However, it does not apply to cases filed before January 1, 2021. The statute is scheduled to remain in effect until January 1, 2027, at which time it will be repealed.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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