California labor laws specify that employers allow non-exempt workers to take an uninterrupted 30-minute lunch break, and two 10-minute meal and rest breaks per working day. All personnel who are not professionals, executives, supervisors, or administrators are considered non-exempt.
Non-exempt employees whose employer has not provided meal and rest breaks following these rules could have justification for filing a claim against their employer per California labor code.
Meal and rest breaks cause employers in Los Angeles substantial confusion. This is mainly due to the fact that federal and California break laws request employers to meet different requirements. For instance, meal and rest breaks are not required under federal law, but California labor code requires both meal and rest breaks be provided to employees.
Employers operating outside the California labor laws often provide convoluted reasons for not providing adequate meal and rest breaks to their employees. Our experienced employment lawyers at Wrongful Termination Law Group will help you understand whether labor code violations exist in your case.
If you feel that your employees rights have been breached, please contact us today for a free case evaluation, and keep in mind that no fees are charged.
California Break Laws – California Labor Code Section 226.7
This section of California labor law details the state rules for meal and rest breaks in the following manner:
- Employees not classified as exempt are allowed one thirty-minute meal break during the course of each five hours worked.
- Employees are also allowed to take a ten-minute rest break during each shift of four hours.
It follows from these rules that each California employee should have at least two ten-minute rest breaks and one thirty minute meal break during the course of an eight-hour workday. Companies in violation of these California labor laws are obligated to pay the employee the equivalent of one extra hour per work day.
Cases involving violations of meal and rest break laws are often candidates for employment law class action suits. Employing the class action legal mechanism allows a group of employees to file suit against their employer through one legal advocate, often strengthening their case with the potential to seek greater sums of compensation to be distributed among a large number of employees.
California Break Laws – Meal breaks
The California break laws in relation to meal breaks are as follows. If you work more than 5 hours you are entitled to a 30 minute meal break which is unpaid. Nonetheless, if your work period is less than 6 hours, you can waive such terms with your employer as per the California break laws. This is likely to happen if you are the only employee working for your employer. For example, if you are working in a shop and there is no other worker there to cover for you.
On the other hand, if you work more than 10 hours you will be entitled to a second meal break. However, if your work period is less than 12 hours, you can waive such terms with your employer, but only if you didn’t waive your first meal break as per the California break laws. In other words, you are not allowed to waive both meal breaks in one working day.
For an employee’s break to qualify as a legal meal break, your break has to adhere to the following set of requirements:
- You should be free to leave the premises
- You should be relieved of all work duties
- Your meal break must be at least 30 minutes long
If you do not receive a legal meal break, you are entitled to one additional hour of pay at your regular rate of pay from your employer. That said, you are also entitled to civil penalties if your employer frequently fails to provide meal breaks to several employees.
California Break Laws – Rest breaks
California also requires employers to provide rest breaks to their employees. The California break laws in relation to rest breaks are as follows. For every 4 hours of work carried out, you are entitled to a 10 minute rest break. However, unlike meal breaks, you may also be requested to remain at work for the remainder of your rest break.
Furthermore, as per the California break laws, should your employer not allow you to take a rest break, you will be entitled to one extra hour of pay and civil penalties. If your employer fails to give you a meal and rest break on the same day, your are further entitled to two more hours of additional pay from your employer.
Nonetheless, according to California labor code, you are legally not allowed to collect for more than one missed rest break and one missed meal break on the same working day.
California break laws – waiver of rest periods
Every employer in California is requested to authorize the amount of meal and rest break time to which each of their employees are entitled to. However, if the employer does not, then he/she has violated California labor law.
California break laws permit employees to skip rest breaks if they wish, and there will be no civil penalty against the employer if they do so. Keeping this in mind, employers may not threaten or pressure their employees to disregard meal and rest breaks.
We represent employees.
Employers must treat meal and rest breaks as hours worked, and must pay meal and rest breaks just the same as time worked. According to California labor code, every employer in Los Angeles must relieve employees of all work commitments during their meal and rest breaks and renounce any control over how employees spend their time during their meal and rest break.
If your employer discriminates against you in any manner whatsoever, for example, he discharges you because you ask about taking a meal and rest break, please contact an experienced California labor lawyer to defend and settle your case.
At Wrongful Termination Law Group, we have handled a number of class action suits in different areas of employment law. Contact Wrongful Termination Law Group for an appointment for your free case evaluation to discuss your case. For the fastest service, please fill out the form on our our case evaluation page.