California has very specific rest break laws that all employers must comply with. Understanding the requirements for all breaks is imperative so you can determine whether the laws are being followed or not.
Most importantly, employees must be off the clock for rest breaks. This means that the employees don’t have to do any work. They must be free to leave the premises and to do what they feel they need to do. If any of those conditions aren’t met, the break can’t be an unpaid break.
All employees must get at least one meal break if they work for more than five hours. The meal break must be at least 30 minutes and has to be provided by the end of the fifth hour of work. If the person works more than 10 hours, another 30-minute break must be provided by the end of the tenth hour of work.
Employers must provide employees with a 10-minute work break for all employees who work 3.5 hours or more per day. Every four hours requires its own rest break. This means that an employee who works an 8-hour shift would need two 10-minute breaks and a 30-minute meal break.
It’s sometimes possible for workers to waive certain breaks. For example, they can waive their second meal break if they work at least 10 hours. This is only applicable if they work less than 12 hours, and the waiver can only occur if the employee and employer both agree and if the first meal break wasn’t waived.
Litigation surrounding wage and hour claims is fairly common. One of the best ways to combat these claims is to ensure compliance from the start. If there’s still a claim filed against your company, having someone on your side to handle it is crucial, so you don’t have to spend all your time trying to build the case against the claim.