Whether it be lunch or breakfast, meal and rest breaks are the most important times for everyone. These are times to get essential nutrients to get through the day or even to recuperate after a long, productive meeting. Even though there isn’t a federal law for rest breaks during the workday, there are state laws.
In California, all employers must give their employees a 30-minute meal break after the employee has worked at least 5 hours. The employer is not required to pay the employee for this meal break because meal breaks are unpaid periods. If the employee only works a 6- hour shift, the employee may request to waive this period and work the entire shift since many employees would rather get paid for the entire 6-hour shift.
In places where employees are required to eat on the premises and cannot leave, employers must provide an area designated for meal breaks.
California requires that employers must provide all their employees rest breaks throughout their shift. Employers must provide all employees a 10-minute rest break after the employee has worked at least 4 hours. The employer must pay the employee for these short rest breaks. Since the employees are being paid for the rest breaks that they take, they are required to remain on the premises during the 10-minutes.
Meal And Rest Break Violations
Almost all employees in California qualify for rest and meal breaks. The only time an employer can waive an employee’s right to meal and rest breaks is with a mutual written agreement with the employee, or if the employee does not work more than six hours in a shift. Unfortunately, lunch and rest break violations are some of the most common ways employers abuse their power over employees. Violating California’s meal and rest rules can expose the employer to liability for damages – not just to reimburse the missing wages and hours, but also for additional penalties.
Rest break violations can be difficult to prove, because employers are only required to make the break available – employees are not required by law to take them. Whether an employer adequately communicated that a break was freely available, and whether an employee knowingly and voluntarily waived a break time, can be difficult to establish in court. For this reason, it is essential to contact an employment attorney to analyze your individual situation. Contact us at Victory Law Group, LLP for a free initial consultation.
Fighting For Missed Meal And Rest Breaks
If you win a case against your employer for missed meal and rest breaks, you could be eligible to receive pay for missed wages. Your employer (past or present) will have to pay one hour of wages for each day they violated your meal or rest breaks, as well as any corresponding overtime pay for the missed hours. You could qualify for retroactive pay for wage and hour violations on top of any applicable penalties. For more information, contact us at Victory Law Group, LLP online.