According to California labor law, non-exempt employees who work more than five hours in a day are entitled to a 30 minute meal break within the first five hours of their workday. Similarly, those who work more than ten hours in a day must receive a second 30 minute meal break. California labor codes also ensure that non-exempt employees receive rest breaks if they work 3.5 or more hours in a day. Specifically, such employees must receive a ten minute rest period for every 4 hours of labor that they perform. Rest breaks are required by law to be counted as time worked, meaning the employee must be paid for them. For practicality reasons, these rest breaks must lie in the middle of the employee’s period of work. Reach out to a Los Angeles meal and rest periods lawyer today to review your claims.
The above California meal and rest period requirements only apply to employees who are classified as non-exempt (similar to overtime wage laws). An example of employees who would be exempt from such requirements are white-collar exempt employees. These workers must meet the following requirements to qualify exemption:
- Spend over half of their work periods performing intellectual, creative, or managerial work
- Commonly exercise discretion or independent judgement when performing their duties
- Earn a monthly salary equal to or greater than twice the California minimum wage for full-time employment
Additionally, workers who meet the legal requirements of independent contractors would be considered exempt of meal and rest periods. It is also worth noting that meal period requirements under California labor codes do not apply to unionized employees in industries where collective bargaining agreements have set specified meal breaks. Examples of collective bargaining agreements on meal breaks overriding California labor code include employees who work:
- In construction occupations
- As commercial drivers
- For certain utility companies, including electrical and gas
- In the motion picture industry
- As security officers
Employers are legally forbidden from infringing on your meal and/or rest periods by requesting that you continue working or stay “on call”. On the other hand, if you choose to work voluntarily through your meal or rest period, this is not your employer’s responsibility. California employees may take legal action against their employers if they are denied meal or rest breaks guaranteed to them by California labor codes. Employers who deny their employees meal or rest breaks are liable for one hour of the employee’s wage per break that was denied to them.
We Hold Employers Accountable. We Want To Help
Bibiyan Law Group is devoted to recovering the wages you are owed, and compensating you for any loss that your employer has caused. A legal expert from our Los Angeles law firm can get your case started with a free initial consultation today. Our contingency fee basis ensures that you will never pay out-of-pocket; that is, you do not have to pay any fees unless you win or recover compensation.