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What employees should know about rest breaks

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2023 | Employment Law For Employers |

Taking a break from work relieves stress, preventing burnout. Thus, it helps employees’ mental health and well-being. Breaks also lead to improved productivity and job satisfaction. The law requires employers to give employees adequate breaks.

Here is what you should know about this matter:  

Rest period 

In California, employers should allow employees to take a paid 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked. The 10 minutes should be consecutive. Employees with a total work time of less than three and one-half hours don’t need this break.     

But there may be exceptions to this rule. For instance, certain employees of 24-hour residential care facilities may need to work during their rest periods, or their breaks may be interrupted to attend to a resident’s needs. 

Further, employees who engage in strenuous activities, such as dancers or swimmers, should have additional interim rest periods during rehearsals and shoots.

Additionally, if the disruption of continuous operations may jeopardize the product or process of work, employees can miss the 10-minute rest period. But the employer should make up for the missed rest period on the same workday or compensate employees for the missed break at their regular rate of pay within the same pay period. This exception mostly affects the construction, logging, mining and drilling industries.

Meal periods

Employees who work more than five hours per day should have an uninterrupted meal period of not less than thirty minutes. Employees who work more than 10 hours should have a second meal period of not less than thirty minutes. Unless an employer relieves all of an employee’s duty during the thirty-minute meal period, meal periods are considered “on-duty.’ 

If your employer violates your rights to rest breaks, get legal guidance to understand the steps to take.