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What do employers need to know about rest breaks in California?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2020 | Employment Law

Employees can’t be expected to work long shifts without having some type of break during which they can rest. California law sets standards for when employers must provide rest breaks for their employees. It’s best that all employers, as well as supervisors, administrators, and managers, know what these laws entail. 

California requires that employers provide employees with a 10-minute rest period for every 4 hours they work. The key here is that the break must be provided as close to the middle of that 4-hour period as possible. If an employer fails to provide the rest period, they must pay the employee for an hour’s wage as compensation for not providing the break.

Employers have to provide a suitable space that isn’t a bathroom for employees to take their rest break. It’s important to note that the rest break’s time doesn’t begin until an employee reaches a place that’s away from their work area where they can rest. Additionally, the employer can’t require that employees only use the restroom on this 10-minute rest break.

So, an employee who is scheduled for an 8-hour shift would get two rest breaks of 10 minutes each. One of these would be at around 2 hours into the shift and one would be approximately 2 hours prior to the end of the work hours. The employee would also be due for a meal break of at least 30 minutes. 

Employees who have reason to believe that rest or meal break laws aren’t being complied with might opt to pursue a legal claim against their employer. As an employer, you must be prepared to present your defense against those claims. Your attorney can help you to address this matter if it ever arises.