Compensation For Unpaid Meals And Rest Breaks
For many decades, California law has recognized the right of nonexempt workers to take meal breaks and rest periods. If an employer refuses to provide such breaks or prevents employees from leaving the premises during a lunch break, the employees may be eligible for compensation. Providing such breaks may seem like common sense in that they allow workers to obtain nourishment, refresh themselves and regain their strength before they return to their job duties. But some employers in California make employees work through break periods or otherwise fail to relieve them of duties.
If you have been forced to work through meal and rest breaks or your employer has violated other provisions of California Labor Code Section 512(a), you may be eligible for compensation.
For a free consultation about an unpaid meal break claim, call Watkins & Letofsky, LLP, at 866-439-1295.
Advocates For Employee Rights
Watkins & Letofsky, LLP, with offices in Santa Ana and Las Vegas, is a law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of employees and fostering productive work environments. Our lawyers act decisively to document employment law violations, calculate the compensation our clients are entitled to and seek results in court and negotiation sessions.
Are You Entitled To Compensation For Meal And Rest Breaks?
Employees in California and Nevada are generally entitled to:
- 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked
- 10-minute rest period for four hours worked
If practical, the 10 minute rest breaks must be provided in the middle of the work period. Employees are free to use their meal and break time in any reasonable manner such as reading or checking messages on their personal phones.
There are exceptions to these rules. In California, if you work less than six hours, the meal period can be waived by mutual consent. On-duty meal periods are allowed, but only if the agreement is in writing. Breaks are not required for employees who total daily work time is less than three-and-a-half hours.
If you have been denied meal or rest breaks in violation of California employment regulations, you may be entitled to one hour of premium pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal or rest period is not provided, plus attorney fees.