If you believe that your employer violated California rest break law, talk to our employment lawyer at The Sempers Law Firm to discuss your legal options. To get a free consultation with our attorney Zachary J. Sempers, call at 888-762-0297.
California rest break requirements
According to the California Labor Code and the IWC Wage Orders, employers must give most non-exempt employees an uninterrupted rest period of ten minutes for every four hours (or major fraction) worked. The main exception to the California rest break requirement is if the employee is exempt or works less than 3.5 hours in a workday.
A rest break is a 10-minute period of uninterrupted rest provided to an employee. During the rest break, an employee must be relieved of all their duties. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), employers are also required to provide suitable resting facilities to all employees eligible for rest breaks.
Unlike meal periods, rest breaks are paid. In California, employees should take rest breaks in the middle of a four hour period unless doing so is unreasonable. An employer cannot require an employee to work, remain on-call, or stay on-site during the rest break.
Are 10-minute breaks mandatory in California?
While California employers are legally required to authorize and permit employees to take paid 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked, an employee can feel free to skip the break. An employer cannot encourage or force an employee to skip a rest break or perform any work during the rest period.
Rest Breaks: Exempt employees vs. Non-Exempt employees
The difference between exempt and non-exempt employees is that the former employees are not subject to some state and federal labor laws, including:
- Rest breaks
- Meal breaks
- Overtime pay
- Minimum wage
Under California Labor Code, non-exempt employees are eligible for rest and meal breaks and overtime pay and must receive minimum wage. While non-exempt employees are not entitled to the same benefits and protections, they must be paid at least twice the minimum wage based on a 40-hour workweek.