California laws set very strict standards for many aspects of employment. One of these has to do with the breaks that employees receive. This includes required meal breaks and rest periods that employees are due when they meet specific requirements for the number of hours they work.
While these laws are utilized in almost every industry, there are some exceptions. If you work in a specialized industry, like the movies, the laws are different. For others, these are the break requirements you should know:
- A meal break of at least 30 minutes is required if employees work at least five hours. Employees who work more than 10 hours per shift get two breaks of 30 minutes each; however, they may waive one of those with the mutual consent of the employer as long as their shift isn’t more than 12 hours.
- Meal breaks are unpaid as long as the worker is relieved of all duties and free to leave the premises. If the employee has to remain at the worksite or perform any work duties, the meal break must be paid.
- A rest break is a paid 10-minute break for employees who work four hours. Each four-hour period during a shift requires a rest break. This isn’t a bathroom break, but instead, it is a break that an employee can take to sit down, make calls or do whatever they want.
- The timer for a break doesn’t start until the employee is away from the work zone. Employers must have a designated area where the employees can take this break, but that area can’t be the bathroom.
An employment attorney can help both employers and employees find out what laws apply to work breaks. An attorney can also help with legal claims that arise from these matters.