Employees who work a certain number of hours in a workday are entitled to meal and rest breaks. This time off is necessary to recoup and regenerate so that you can provide the best service possible when you return. There are few exceptions to these laws. If your employer is not providing you with the opportunity to take breaks or isn’t paying you properly, Setyan Law can evaluate your case and explain your rights.
Meal Break Requirements in California
Pursuant to California Labor Laws, any employee who works for more than five hours is entitled to an unpaid, off-duty, uninterrupted meal period of at least 30 minutes. As long as the employee does not work more than six hours in the workday, they can waive the meal period by mutual consent of the employee and employer.
If an employee works more than 10 hours, they must be allowed a second meal break of no fewer than 30 minutes. This second break can be waived if the total hours in the workday do not exceed 12, both parties mutually consent, and the first meal break was not waived.
There are certain situations when on-duty, paid meal breaks may be allowed. For example, if the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty and both parties agree in writing, then the meal break may be on-duty. This arrangement can be revoked at any time in writing by the employee.
Rest Break Obligations in California
Employees who work at least 3.5 hours per day are entitled to uninterrupted rest breaks as well. One 10-minute reset break must be offered for every four hours worked. The rest break should be in the middle of each four-hour work period. Thus, in an eight-hour workday, one rest break falls on either side of the normal mandated 30-mintue meal break. Employers are allowed to deviate from this when practical considerations make it infeasible. Similar to meal breaks, an employee working a 12 hour shift must take at least three uninterrupted ten minute rest breaks.
Whose Responsibility Is It to Make Sure Employees Get Meal and Rest Breaks?
An employer must provide an opportunity for meal and rest breaks to employees; however, an important California court case called Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court ultimately ruled that the employer does not have to police meal breaks to ensure on work is being done.
The employer satisfies their legal obligation in providing off duty breaks as long as it:
- Relieves the employee of all duties
- Relinquishes control over the employee’s activities
- Allows the employee a reasonable opportunity to take the break
- Does not impede or discourage the employee from taking the break
Call Setyan Law with Questions About Your Meal and Rest Breaks
If you have not been given appropriate meal or rest breaks at work, you have a right to compensation for unpaid wages. Additionally, your employer may face fines for violations of the law. Setyan Law has a team of employment lawyers in Los Angeles, CA who can answer your questions about meal and rest break requirements.
Our knowledgeable attorneys have handled hundreds of employment law cases like yours. Call Setyan Law for a free case evaluation at (213) 618-3655. No fee until you win.
How an Employment Attorney in Los Angeles, CA Can Help You
Employment disputes are about more than winning. They often involve your livelihood and can impact your entire life. Setyan Law has a team of legal professionals and discrimination lawyers in Los Angeles, CA, Pasadena, CA, and Glendale, CA.
We will review your case, gather evidence to support your claims, and fight for you to get the justice you deserve.
Please feel free to call us for a free consultation about your rights.