Many employees are unaware of their rights when it comes to meal and rest breaks
Under California law (which is much more generous to employees than federal labor law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to at least a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday. When an employee works for a period of more than 10 hours, a second meal period must be provided no later than the end of the employee’s tenth hour of work
- You are also entitled to a 10-minute rest breaks for every 4 hours you work (or “major fraction” thereof).
- Employees must be relieved of all duties during the entire 30 minute meal period and must be free to leave the employer’s premises. The employer cannot impede or discourage employees from taking their meal or rest breaks. Employer cannot undermine the meal and break laws by pressuring employees to perform their duties in ways that omit breaks (e.g through a scheduling policy that makes breaks very impractical).
In very limited circumstances, employers and employees can agree to an “on duty” meal period. On duty meal periods will be permitted only when the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the employer and employee an on-the-job meal period is agreed to.
If your boss doesn’t comply with break law requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a meal break violation occurred, and another extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a rest break violation occurred.
If your employer decimates or retaliates against you for requesting your lawful meal and rest bras, you can file a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office or in the alternative, you can file a lawsuit in Court against your employer.
- Overtime Violations
- Most non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. Overtime wages are a type of increased payment employees can earn when working more than a certain number of hours in a workday or workweek
- Overtime requirements in California:
- Employers must pay employees overtime (1.5 times their regular rate of pay) for all hours worked over eight hours per day
- Employers must pay employees overtime (1.5 times their regular rate of pay) for all hours worked over 40 hours per week.
- Employers must pay employees overtime (1.5 times their regular rate of pay) for all work performed by the employee on their seventh consecutive day in the workweek.
- Employers must pay employees double time (2 times their regular rate of pay) for any work performed by the employee more than 12 hours in a workday
- Employers must pay employees double time (2 times their regular rate of pay) for any work performed by the employee when working more than 8 hours on the 7th consecutive day in a workweek
- Under most circumstances the employer may discipline an employee, up to and including termination, if the employee refuses to work scheduled overtime. An employer cannot discipline an employee for refusing to work on the 7th day in a workweek and is subject to a penalty for causing or inducing an employee to forego a day of rest.
- Not all employees are eligible for overtime. Salaried employees are exempt from overtime as well as certain business and industries.
- Failure to pay overtime is a form of wage theft. Sometimes, employers fail to pay overtime because they are ignorant of the law. It is important employees know their rights.