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California Requires Rest and Meal Breaks

By   |  Day Rate Workers  |  No Comments  |  Posted on August 13, 2014  


According to California laws, employers must allow their employees to take Rest and Meal Breaks during a work period. But what exactly are the requirements? How long must an employee work to ensure a meal break?

As explained by the Department of Industrial Relations, any employee that works more than 5 hours must be given a 30 minute meal break, unless the employee will only working a 6 hour shift. This means that if the employee is scheduled for an 8 hour shift, they cannot work more than 5 hours of that shift without taking a break. In the event of a 6 hour shift, the break can be skipped if both the employer and worker consent.

Similarly, any 10-hour shift must include 2 unpaid meal breaks, unless the shift is for 12 hours or less and there is an agreement to skip the second break. Even in this instance, however, the employee must take one meal break.

In addition, employers are required to provide their employees with a 10-minute paid rest break for every 3 ½ hours worked. Workers can opt to skip their break, employers must offer them and cannot deny an employee their request to take one.

During a break, the worker must be completely relieved of all duties. If the worker is performing any task at all during the break, it must be considered “on duty”, and requires that the employee be paid for their time at their regular rate of pay. This pay rate also applies if the worker is required to remain on site during their break, even if they are not performing duties.

Any employer who fails to comply with the requirement for a meal break must provide the employee with one hour’s worth of extra pay for any day that the break is not provided. Workers who are denied a break or extra compensation can file a wage claim or can consult with an attorney to seek compensation for lost wages.

Unpaid For Rest and Meal Breaks?

The attorneys of Josephson Dunlap LLP work with employees who have been denied fair wages. If you have been denied your rightful breaks or have been penalized for requesting them, we can help you seek compensation. Contact us today.

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