How Many Hours Are Required Between Shifts in California?

How Many Hours Are Required Between Shifts in California

Do you often have to return to work just as soon as you clock out? Are you wondering, What is the minimum time between shifts in California? Well, the answer to how many hours between shifts is legal is any amount. Whether your employer requires you to work back-to-back shifts or every other day, either demand is perfectly legal. But do not despair. There are many state laws to help ensure that non-exempt workers receive rest and compensation for extreme hours throughout their workdays and workweeks. And if your employer fails to respect your right to rest and adequate pay, our experienced and fierce employment law advocates at Bibiyan Law Group, PC, can help ensure that your employer changes its ways and pays you handsomely for its violations. Reach out to speak with a California employment lawyer today!

Meal and Rest Breaks

In many cases, your employer needs to provide you with at least one rest break and one meal break on a daily basis. Your right to a break depends on the length of your shift and the nature of your work. But in general, employers must provide the following:

  • A 10-minute rest break for every four hours that you work,
  • A 30-minute meal break whenever you work more than five hours in a day; and 
  • An additional 30-minute meal break when you work more than 10 hours in a day. 

Your employer has to pay you during your 10-minute breaks, but your 30-minute meal breaks can be unpaid as long as they are uninterrupted and allow you to leave the premises if you want. Employers that fail to follow these rules must give you an hour of pay for each violation. 

The above rest and meal break laws apply to most employees, but there are exceptions. For instance, those who work in motion pictures can work for up to six hours without receiving a meal break. And the meal and rest period laws are different for those who work in domestic positions and on farms. When you speak to one of our knowledgeable attorneys, we can tell you whether an exception applies to your situation and what you can expect to recover under the circumstances of your case.  

Day of Rest

Sometimes the required minimum time between shifts in California can be 24 hours. Section 552 of California’s Labor Code states that an employer shall not require its employees to work more than six days in seven. Now, this does not mean that you must always receive a seventh day off from work, but it does mean that your employer should give you enough free days to average one day off out of every seven days in the long run.


Your employer can impose a demanding work schedule on you, but if you are a non-exempt employee, your employer needs to pay a premium for that schedule. Under California law, you must receive overtime pay at the following rates for the following hours

  • If you work more than 40 hours in a workweek, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for the excess time worked;
  • If you work more than eight hours in a workday, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for the excess time worked;
  • If you work up to eight hours on your seventh consecutive workday in a week, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your regular rate for the hours you work on your seventh day; 
  • If you work more than 12 hours in a workday, your employer must pay you twice your regular rate for the amount of time you work over 12 hours; and 
  • If you work more than eight hours on your seventh consecutive workday in a week, your employer must pay you twice your regular rate for the amount of time you worked over eight hours on your seventh day. 

Some professionals, salespeople, and agricultural workers are exempt from the above overtime rules (either fully or partially), so you should consult with your attorney about your rights. 

Filing a Complaint

If you have not received adequate compensation or rest time at your workplace, you can file a wage claim with the California Labor Commissioner. Our employment lawyers can timely file your claim for you and maximize your recovery. 

We Are Here to Help

At Bibiyan Law Group, our attorneys are passionate about protecting the rights and well-being of employees all over the State of California. We are award-winning, aggressive, and successful advocates who have regularly recovered millions for mistreated employees. Please contact us online if you need help or call 310-438-5555 for a free case review. 

Author Photo

Los Angeles Employment Lawyer David Bibiyan has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of employees all across California for unpaid wages and emotional distress caused by discrimination, harassment, and wrongful terminations. Give Los Angeles Employer Lawyer David D. Bibiyan a call today and find out if he can help you with your workplace-related issues.

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