Prop 11: Ambulance Employees On-Call During Breaks

Props in a Minute: Prop 11 - Ambulance Workers On-Call

                                          This proposition passed.                                          

                                         Encuentra la versión en español aqui

Sponsored by Sheppard Mullin, a full service, global law firm with 825 attorneys. The firm handles corporate and technology matters, high stakes litigation and complex financial transactions.


Requires ambulance workers to be on-call during breaks.


In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that security guards were not required to be on-call during breaks. This proposition makes ambulance workers exempt from this ruling.

Vote Yes

Vote No

Supports allowing ambulance providers to require workers to remain on-call during breaks as long as they are paid at their regular rate. Opposes allowing ambulance providers to require workers to remain on-call during breaks as long as they are paid at their regular rate.

The initiative also would require employers to provide emergency medical technicians and paramedics additional training and some paid mental health services.

The ambulance industry says it already pays private EMTs and paramedics to remain reachable during their work breaks in case of an emergency, just like firefighters and police officers. But this long-standing practice was threatened by a 2016 California Supreme Court ruling involving security guards' rights to work breaks. In response to lawsuits that could extend the court ruling to cover EMTs and paramedics, the medical transportation company American Medical Response put up $3.65 million to form Californians for Emergency Preparedness and Safety, the sponsor of Prop 11. 

Supporters say private EMTs and paramedics respond to three-quarters of the state's 911 calls. If they can't respond because they are on break and legally unreachable, results could be life-threatening. Prop 11 would amend state labor law and head off the prospect of ambulance crews having to turn off their cellphones during meal breaks. Employers would be required to maintain adequate staffing levels to allow for work breaks.

No group has been organized specifically to oppose Prop 11, but the California Teachers Association is against it

Prop 11 would help the ambulance industry avoid liability for past break-time practices that would become legally protected. If someone on the front lines of the response to a mass shooting, for example, sued over the issue of inadequate training beforehand or mental health treatment afterward, passage of Prop 11 would show voters had approved a certain level of care. Although crews would be paid while on call, the alternative of covering for unreachable crews during meal breaks would be more expensive by an estimated tens of millions of dollars per year, costs that would be passed on to local governments through contracts.

Click here for a printable version of all the propositions on the November ballot.

Data from Cal Access as of 10/30/18. 


Story continues below


We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading