Attorney Jean-Claude Lapuyade

California rest break requirements

In California, employers are required to allow nonexempt employees to take a rest break during the work day. A nonexempt employee is a worker who qualifies for overtime pay for every hour he or she works past a standard 40-hour work week.

The rest break must be at least ten minutes for each four hours the person works, it should be taken in the middle of the work shift and it must be a paid break.

If an employer does not allow an employee to take a rest break, the employer is required to pay the employee an hour of pay for each work day the break is not allowed.

The employer also cannot require employees to stay at the worksite during the rest period.

Restroom or smoke breaks

Restroom breaks are considered limited time for employees to use the facilities. They do not count toward the employee’s ten-minute rest period.

Smokers are not entitled to an additional rest break outside of the ten minutes allotted.

Mothers with infants

Every employer must provide a reasonable amount of break time for an employee to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child. If possible, this break time should be at the same time as a break already provided to the employee.

Employers must also take reasonable measures to provide the employee with a room or other location close to the employee’s work area that is private.

Employees who have not been allowed the proper rest period by their employer or have experienced other violations can contact an experienced attorney for help. In California, employees must file a claim within three years of the rest period violation.