If you are a California worker, you may be wondering if your employer is required to give you meal and rest breaks. While federal law does not require employers to offer workers break periods throughout the day, California’s meal and rest break laws differ greatly.
If you are a nonexempt employee in California, your employer is required to give you meal and rest breaks if you work a certain number of hours in a day. A nonexempt employee is eligible under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to earn overtime for any extra hours worked, as opposed to exempt employees who are usually salaried and do not need to account for all hours they work. If you are unsure of your status, speak to your human resources department before making a complaint.
California labor law requires employers to provide meal breaks to certain employees. Your employer must abide by the following meal break requirements if you are considered nonexempt:
Your employer does not have to pay you during meal breaks in California. However, you can sign an agreement with your manager or supervisor to take on-duty meal breaks which are paid.
California labor law also requires employers to provide rest breaks to certain employees. If you are a nonexempt employee, your employer must abide by the following rest break requirements:
Unlike meal breaks, your employer must pay you when you take rest breaks in the state of California.
If your employer violates California meal and rest break laws, you may be able to sue your boss for not giving you meal or rest breaks. In California, employers are responsible for ensuring that employees are relieved from their work duties during their meal and rest breaks. If your employer denies you a break, or does not pay you during your rest break, they can suffer the consequences. In fact, if your employer does not comply with California meal and rest break laws, they can be required to pay you for one extra hour of regular pay for each workday on which a violation occurred.
There are exceptions to these requirements when it comes to working in certain industries like healthcare, manufacturing, and others.
Nonexempt workers in California are entitled to meal and rest break periods under state wage laws. Due to strict filing deadlines for meal and rest break violations, it is important to contact an experienced employment and labor attorney right away if you feel that your employer is violating these wage & hour laws. Contact our Los Angeles employment lawyers for a free consultation today.