Meal and Rest Periods
Meal and Rest Periods
Employees in California are entitled to scheduled meal and rest periods in the course of their workday. The primary factor determining how many breaks the employee is legally required to have is the number of hours worked.
An employer must provide an employee who works for more than five hours a meal period of at least 30 minutes. If an employee works a period of more than 10 hours, a second meal period of at least 30 minutes must also be provided. There are, however, exceptions that an Irvine employment attorney reports:
- If the employee’s work period is no more than six hours, the employee and employer can mutually agree to waive the requirement for a meal period.
- If the employee’s work period is no more than 12 hours, the employee and employer can mutually agree to waive the requirement for the second meal period.
Rest periods are to be provided in the middle (or as close to the middle as is practical) of an employee’s work period. The employee is to receive a 10 minute rest period for each four hours worked. No rest period is required for an employee whose work period is less than three and one-half hours.
Relieved of Duty during Meal and Rest Periods
Employees are to be free from any work responsibilities during scheduled break periods. Where an employee is required to be on call during a meal or rest period, the employee is to be paid for that period at his or her regular rate of pay. An Irvine employment attorney emphasizes that this is a narrow exception and the nature of the work must require the employee to be on duty and the employee must agree in writing to the arrangement.
If an employer fails to provide the required meal or rest period, an employee shall be paid one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each day of that failure.
Contact an Irvine Employment Lawyer for Legal Advice
Not only are employees entitled to be paid for meal and rest periods, their employer may not retaliate against them for asking to be provided what the law requires. For any employment related questions, call Altus Law Firm at 949-346-3391.