Meal and Rest Breaks

In California, employers must provide regular breaks for their employees through out the workday. If they are found to have violated these rules, the employer may owe penalties for each break period missed back up to four years. Because these actions often involve multiple employees with the same causes of action, they lend themselves well to employee class action lawsuits.

Under California law, non-exempt employees must be given 10-minute rest periods for every 4 hours of work. These rest periods are to be taken in the middle of each 4-hour work period whenever practical. Although an employee is not required to take the offered rest periods, employers must "authorize and permit" them. Generally, if an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with an applicable order, the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each work day that the rest period is not provided. Employers must provide additional rest and break periods to new mothers and employees who participate in rigorous or physically demanding positions.

Employers may not employ non-exempt employees for a work period of more than 5 hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that if the total work period per day is no more than 6 hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee. In general, if an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period in accordance with an applicable order, the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal period is not provided.

Bowen Law Firm's employment practice is dedicated to protecting our clients' rights in employment litigation. The relationship between employers and employees is more complicated than ever. Employers must navigate and adhere to state and federal laws and regulations that often overlap or conflict, while maintaining a productive and motivated work-force. We represent both employees and employers in attempting to resolve employment disputes.

Call our Roseville office at (916) 742-2220 if you have questions about meal or rest breaks.