Meal and Rest BreaksLitigation: It's What We Do.
California Meal & Rest Break Law
Experienced Attorneys Advocating for Your Rights as an Employee
California Labor Code 512 goes beyond the federal wage and hour laws found in the Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring employers to provide meal breaks and rest periods for employees who have worked a certain amount of time.
Our Calabasas employment lawyers at Gaines & Gaines represent workers all over California who have been denied the meal breaks and rest periods to which they are entitled. With over five decades of professional experience, we know how to strategize an effective case for compensation and will advocate firmly for your rights as an employee.
What Is California Meal Break Law?
In California, anytime an employee works more than 5 hours, they are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break. During this time, the employee is to be relieved of all duties and is free to leave the premises.
The meal break should be taken within the first 5 hours of work, and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the meal break is taken on time. If the shift exceeds 10 hours, a second meal period is required, though the employee may choose to waive this second meal break if the workday is no longer than 12 hours and they did not waive the first meal break.
For a violation of this law, the employee is entitled to be paid for the missed break plus a premium of one hour of pay at the regular rate. Every day the employee misses a meal break counts as a separate violation of the law.
Violation of Lunch Break Laws & Additional Overtime Claims
Note that overtime claims can sometimes be implicated in meal break cases. When an employee is told to clock out for a meal break but is required to keep working, the employee may end up working more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week. In such a case, the worker would be entitled to recover unpaid overtime wages at time and a half as well as the premium penalty for the missed meal break.
Reach out to our experienced attorneys at Gaines & Gaines for more clarification on your rights to meal breaks and what to do if your employer has infringed upon your rights. Under CA meal break law, you deserve meal break requirements met. Contact us should you need an employment law attorney.
What Is California Rest Break Law?
Employees are also entitled to rest periods as well as meal breaks. For every 4 hours on the clock, an employee is entitled to a 10-minute paid break. As much as practicable, the break should be given in the middle of the 4-hour period (after 2 hours of work).
So, an employee who works an 8-hour shift is entitled to two paid 10-minute rest breaks and one 30-minute unpaid meal period. As with meal breaks, the penalty for not giving a rest period is that the employee is owed one hour of pay for every day a break is denied.
Rest period violations can be difficult to prove because employers are only required to make the break available – employees are not required by law to take them. Whether an employer adequately communicated that a break was freely available and whether an employee knowingly and voluntarily waived a break time can be difficult to establish in court.
Let Gaines & Gaines Fight For You
The Calabasas employment attorneys at Gaines & Gaines have significant experience enforcing California’s labor laws, including class actions based on employer violations of the law across a workforce. If you believe that you have been unfairly denied meal breaks or rest periods, consult an attorney at Gaines & Gaines for a professional evaluation on how to proceed with your claim.
You have a right to meal and rest as an employee. Contact Gaines & Gaines online immediately if your rights have been infringed upon.