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Rest Breaks for Workers in California

Rest breaks for workers in California: What you need to know

California missed meal breaks & rest breaks lawyers

In California, employees are entitled to rest breaks and meal breaks under the state’s wage and hour laws. These laws are enforced by the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE).[1]

Employees are entitled to one paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours of work or a major fraction thereof.  A “major fraction” of four hours is anything three-and-a-half hours or more.  Rest breaks must be provided at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the workday.

Employees must be completely relieved of their duties during their rest break. They cannot be forced to work during their rest breaks. This means that they are free to leave their work area and do whatever they want, such as using the restroom, getting a drink of water, talking to a coworker, or leaving the premises.[2]

Meal breaks

Employees are entitled to one unpaid 30-minute meal break for every five hours of work. If an employee works more than 10 hours in a day, they are entitled to a second meal break.

Employees may waive their meal break if they agree to do so in writing and if their total work period per day is no more than six hours. They may also waive their second meal break if their total work period per day is no more than twelve hours, provided they took a first meal break earlier in the day. However, employers cannot require employees to waive their meal breaks.[3]

california missed meal breaks & rest breaks lawyersExceptions

There are a few exceptions to the rest break and meal break laws. For example, employees who work in certain industries, such as trucking or other positions, may be exempt from the meal break requirement.

What to do if your employer denies you a rest break or meal break

If your employer denies you a rest break or meal break, you should talk to your supervisor or human resources department. If the problem is not resolved, you can file a complaint with the DLSE. Matern Law Group can also help – our experienced employment lawyers can review your case and advise you of your legal options. We can also represent you in a claim against your employer to recover damages for your missed breaks.

Rest breaks and meal breaks are important for employees’ health and well-being. Employers are required by law to provide employees with these breaks. If your employer denies you a break, you should take steps to protect your rights. Learn more on our Meal and Rest Break Claims page >>


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