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What are the rules on rest breaks for employees in California?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2021 | Employment Law |

Employees in California have very specific rights. This includes being able to take rest breaks during their work period. It’s imperative that all employers understand the rules around rest breaks. Failure to do so can end up leading to litigation and other major problems for your company.

If you’re an employer, here are some things you need to keep in mind about employee rest breaks:

Where do rest breaks take place?

Companies must provide workers with a suitable place for resting that isn’t the toilet area. This requirement was set to alert workers and employers to the fact that the rest breaks shouldn’t be considered the only time when workers can use the facilities. In fact, employers can’t use a worker going to the restroom during their shift to meet break requirements.

When are the 10-minute breaks for workers required?

Employers are required to provide workers with a 10-minute break for every four hours they work. Workers who work more than 4 hours but not quite 8 hours might require an extra break if they work the majority of another 4-hour shift. This should ideally be in the middle of the 4-hour period or as close as possible to that middle. This is a paid rest break, but the worker can’t be required to remain on the premises or be available via a communication device during the break.

What happens if no break is given when one is required?

When there isn’t a break given to the employee as required by law, the employer must pay the worker an equivalent of 1-hour’s pay, per day.

When something goes wrong and an employee (or former employee) alleges that they weren’t given their rest breaks or makes other claims related to their wages and hours, the situation can become a major problem for an employer. Working with an experienced advocate is often the wisest thing you can do.