Split shift workers may be entitled to additional pay

Many hourly workers in the retail industry, service industry and health care industry in California have employers that have these workers split shifts — that is, their work schedule will be interrupted by non-paid non-work periods. For example, a server at a restaurant may work during the busy lunch shift from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and then return to the restaurant at 4:00 p.m. the same day to work the dinner shift. The following is a brief overview of split shift wage and hour laws in California.

Split shift requirements

In order to be a legal split shift in California, the time period between shifts has to be greater than a bona fide meal break. In addition, split shifts must occur within the same workday. A split shift is not a replacement for a meal or rest break. Finally, it must be to the employer’s benefit to have employees work split shifts. Employees who request an extended break for their own benefit will not be considered to be working a split shift.

Split shift pay

Hourly workers in California who are paid the minimum wage may be eligible for a “split shift premium” in addition to their regular pay if they work a split shift. The premium is equal to one hour of pay at the minimum wage rate. Hourly workers who are paid more than the minimum wage may also be eligible for a split shift premium, but the greater their hourly wage, the less they will receive via a split shift premium.

Split shifts and wage and hour claims

If you worked a split shift, and believe you were not paid what you were legally entitled to, you may want to find out if you can file a legal claim. Our firm’s webpage on wage and hour laws in California may be a useful resource for readers who want to learn more about this topic.