Attorney Jean-Claude Lapuyade

You Deserve A Break: Meal And Rest Violations Are Unlawful

If your current or former employer failed to provide you with your legally mandated meal or rest periods, the attorneys at the JCL Law Firm can help. We have recovered millions of dollars in back pay and penalties for meal and rest period violations on behalf of California employees. We represent employees seeking back pay and penalties for missed meal and rest periods throughout California.

What Are Meal And Rest Breaks?

California law requires employers to provide nonexempt employees with a 30-minute, uninterrupted and duty-free meal period for every five hours of work. Employers must also provide a 10-minute, uninterrupted and duty-free rest period for every three-and-a-half hours of work.

What If I Don’t Get A Meal Or Rest Break?

For each workday that an employer fails to provide an employee with a required meal period, or if the required meal period is interrupted, the employer owes the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which must be included in the next paycheck. If an employer fails to provide an employee with a required rest period, or the rest period is interrupted, the employer owes the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay, which the employer must include in the next paycheck.

When Should My Meal Break Happen?

Your employer should let you have a meal break by the end of the fifth hour of your workday if you are working more than five hours that day. If you are working more than 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break. That break should happen no later than the beginning of your 11th hour of work.

When Should I Get My Rest Break?

Generally, as much as practical, the rest break must be given in the middle of the four-hour work period.

Should I Be Paid For My Meal Break?

It depends. If you are not relieved of all work duties during your meal break, you should be considered to have been granted an “on duty” meal period. On-duty meal periods count as hours worked, and you should be paid your regular rate of pay for those periods. If you are not expected to conduct any work duties during your meal break, you are considered off duty and do not have to be paid for that time.

Should I Get Paid During My Rest Break?

Yes. Employers must treat rest periods as hours worked and must pay employees for their time during the rest period.

Can I Legally Waive My Meal Break?

Under certain conditions, you can. If you work six hours or less in a given workday, your meal break can be waived if you and your employer both give your consent.

For employees who work more than 10 hours per day, a second meal break of 30 minutes or more is required by law. This second meal break can only be waived by mutual consent of you and your employer if you did not waive your first meal period. If you work more than 12 hours a day, the second meal break cannot be waived.

Can I Waive My Rest Period?

No. An employer cannot compel an employee to waive a rest period.

Let Us Represent Your Employment Law Case

Contact our San Diego labor attorneys today to begin building your case. We approach each legal action with skill and attention so that you receive every dollar you are owed. Call us at 619-826-6975 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment.