11: Paramedic Break Time
What it would do:
Continue to allow private ambulance services to require their emergency medical service employees to remain on call during meal and rest breaks. Also guarantees technicians additional training and some paid medical health services.
What it would cost the government:
Ever so slightly lower EMT contract costs will likely save local governments some money.
Why it is on the ballot:
Good question! Two years ago, the state Supreme Court ruled that security guards cannot be required to keep their radios on and remain on call while enjoying their meal or break time. A number of private ambulance firms are now facing class action lawsuits in California courts over similar break time violations, including American Medical Response, the Colorado-based company backing the initiative. Those cases are still pending, but the companies involved want a specific exemption written into law and to make sure they aren’t held liable for past practice.
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Arguments in Favor:
Just like police and firefighters, emergency medical response technicians need to be on-call when the worst happens. This proposition would ensure that workers are compensated for missed or interrupted breaks.
This initiative is being pushed by an industry looking for a special carve-out from state labor law so that they can dodge legal penalties and keep costs down. If there are problems with the recent Supreme Court ruling, they should be addressed through the legislative process.
American Medical Response
California Republican Party
Sacramento Bee editorial board
Bakersfield Californian editorial board
California Democratic Party
California Teachers Association
California Labor Federation
Service Employees International Union – National Association of Government Employees
United EMS Workers
Democratic Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez