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Proposition 11: Ambulance employee breaks

Summary: Proposition 11 would require private-sector EMTs and paramedics to be on-call during their rest and meal breaks. The proposition would limit the scope of a 2016 decision by the California Supreme Court that made it unlawful for security guards to be forced to remain on call during breaks. Paramedics and ambulance workers who oppose the proposition say that they fall under this category and deserve such protections.

Public Debate:

  • For: American Medical Response, the state’s largest private ambulance operator and the author of the bill, believes that it will be a win-win — ensuring the fastest possible 911 response and making sure EMTs get paid for more hours on the job.
  • Against: United EMS Workers, a labor union that represents 4,000 EMTs and paramedics in California, opposes Prop 11, saying that the bill is just a way for ambulance companies to avoid having to hire more workers in case the California Supreme Court decision is applied to them, adding that allowing EMTs to take uninterrupted breaks would not decrease the quality of care for noncritical calls.

Party Opinions: California Democrats opposes Prop 11. CA GOP supports Prop 11.

Campus opinions:

Stanford Democrats deferred to the California Democrats’ position that American Medical Response only put forth the proposition to avoid paying a possible $120 million in damages to EMS workers denied compensation for working during breaks as part of an ongoing lawsuit. Prop 11 would codify paid on-call breaks going forward, but exempt the employer from potential liability for violations of existing law.

Stanford College Republicans voiced support for Prop 11, saying that “allowing ambulance workers to take breaks during which they are not on-call is impractical and reduces the effectiveness of the crucial medical functions they perform.”