Workers deserve and are entitled to a break, period

They say that if one finds a way to get paid for what they love, they will never work a day in their life. However, regardless of whether a worker loves their job or not, every employee deserves and is entitled to a break. Unfortunately, not all employers honor this duty to allow their employees break and rest time. But, when this happens, the attorneys at the JCL Law Firm are here to help.

Legal requirements

Here in California, state law requires all employers to provide their employees with at least an uninterrupted 30-minute work break for each five hours of work their employees perform. And, if the employer works 10 hours during the day, an additional 30-minute break is required. In addition to this duty-free and uninterrupted break time, for every three-and-a-half hours of work done, employers must also provide an additional 10-minute break.


Rest periods (i.e., non-meal breaks) are not waivable. Employers must provide them, period. Though, meal breaks can be waivable. For employees that work less than six hours, employees can waiver their mandatory meal break. For those working 10 hours or more, even their second meal break can be waived with mutual consent of the employee and employee, as long as the first meal break is not waived. But, a shift of 12 hours or more means that neither meal break is waivable.

Paid versus unpaid breaks

Meal breaks can be paid or unpaid. If one’s meal break is not completely duty free, it must be counted as work time and paid. For meal breaks that are completely duty free, employers are not required to pay their employees for this time. Conversely, all rest breaks must be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay.


The consequences for employers for meal and rest violations can rack up quickly. Employers that fail to provide meal breaks or rest periods (or where either is interrupted) owe that employee one addition hour of pay for each missed or interrupted meal/break period. These hours must be included on the employee’s next paycheck.

Of course, employers do not always follow these rules, and when this happens contact us. Our firm has attained millions for our clients for this back pay and penalties. Specifically, our attorneys are attentive, effective, results driven and recovered over $30 million for our San Diego, California, clients.