Construction Worker Drinking WaterWhat are meal breaks and when can you take them?

If an employee works more than a 5 hour shift, the law states that the employer must provide a 30 minute meal break.  If the employee works more than a 10 hour shift, then the employer must provide a second 30 minute meal period.

If you work for more than 5 hours, your employer must provide the meal period before the end of the 5th hour worked.  If you end up working more than a 10 hour shift, then the employer must provide you with your second meal period before the end of the 10th hour worked.

During the meal break, the employee must be relieved of all duty during the entire 30 minute break.

What are rest breaks and when should you be able to take them?

The state of California requires employers to provide their employees 10 minutes of paid rest for every employee that works at least 3.5 hours.  Employers must provide employees with a 10 minute break for every 4 hours worked, so a typical 8 hour work days gives the employee two 10 minute rest breaks.  As a general rule, the rest breaks are provided in the middle of the 4 hour work period.

So what happens if I don’t get my meal and rest breaks?

Employers who do not provide their employees with the proper meal and rest breaks under the law must pay the employee one hour of pay at his/her regular rate of pay for each break not provided.

If you are forced to work during your breaks, call us so that we can discuss your options during a FREE consultation.