Missed Meal and Rest Breaks

California law protects an employee’s right to take uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. If you fail to receive breaks or receive short, late, or interrupted breaks, your rights may be violated.

Breaks are Required by California Law

If your employer has failed to comply with these vital workplace protections, the law is on your side. While some breaks may be waived by mutual consent, they cannot be revoked by an employer without your approval.

Meal Break Laws

In most circumstances, California law stipulates that hourly employees cannot work for more than five hours per day without being provided with at least one uninterrupted meal break of at least 30-minutes’ duration.

Though there are exceptions, these meal breaks generally need to conform to certain basic requirements, including:

  • They must be taken at regularly established intervals
  • Employees must be completely relieved of duties for the duration of the break
  • The employee may choose whether to remain at the worksite during the meal period.
  • Employees who work more than 10 hours per day may be entitled to take a second meal break.

Rest Break Laws

In addition to meal breaks, employees must be authorized and permitted to take rest breaks, which accrue at a rate of ten consecutive minutes for each four-hour work period. When problems arise concerning rest periods, you could be entitled to compensation.

Like meal breaks, these rest breaks must meet certain basic requirements, including:

  • Rest periods must be paid as normal working hours
  • They must be taken in the middle of the work period

Did You Know

If you feel your employer has in any way restricted your legal access to proper meal and rest breaks, Contact Us for a free case evaluation


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If you’ve been prohibited from taking the break time you are entitled to under California law, we can help you seek fair compensation.