Denial of Rest Breaks to California Workers
California employees have a legal right to time away from work throughout the day. Employers who make it difficult or impossible for their workers to take these legally-protected breaks owe their workers compensation for forcing them to miss their breaks. Should they fail to provide this compensation, these employers could face a lawsuit based on California law.
Workers who have routinely faced denial of their right to take rest breaks may wish to explore their legal options by discussing their case with an experienced California wage and hour attorney. The Orange County employment lawyers at Coast Employment Law can provide you with a free evaluation of your case if you’ve faced denial of your legal rights on the job in Southern California. Contact our Tustin offices today to discuss your claim.
What are my rights as a California employee regarding rest breaks?
Non-exempt (hourly, non-salaried) California workers have a legal right to take one ten-minute rest break for every four hours (or major fraction thereof) worked. In other words, any worker who works a shift of at least three and one-half hours will have a right to a ten-minute rest break. Workers who work over six hours in a single shift will be entitled to two ten-minute breaks, as any amount of work over two hours is considered a “major fraction” of four hours under California law. Likewise, if a worker has an eleven-hour shift, they will be entitled to three rest breaks. These rest breaks should be taken as near as possible to the middle of the work period.
Missed rest breaks may entitle a worker to premium pay
A worker is not required by law to take their rest breaks, but some employers require their workers to take them. Unlike meal breaks, these ten-minute rest breaks should be paid. However, if a worker declines to take a rest break that their employer permitted them to take, the worker will not be entitled to an additional ten minutes’ worth of pay for the day. That said, if the employer makes it impossible for the worker to take one or more of their ten-minute rest breaks, the employer will owe the worker what’s known as “premium pay” for that day. The premium should be equal to one hour’s worth of pay at the employee’s regular rate.
When a worker is on their rest break, they should be free from any responsibilities or from the duty to remain on-call or available via radio. If the worker is asked to stay on-call during their break, then they have not truly received a rest break and may be entitled to premium pay for the day. Certain types of workers, such as those working in 24-hour residential care facilities and certain types of performers, may face additional restrictions on their break-taking abilities under the law. A seasoned Southern California employment attorney can help you understand your rights to rest breaks under California labor law.
Talk to a Seasoned California Employment Lawyer with Questions about Rest Breaks in Orange County
For seasoned, effective, and professional help with an employment law issue in California, contact the Orange County employment attorneys at Coast Employment Law for a free consultation, in Tustin at 714-551-9930.