California labor law is targeted to affording employees a certain amount of rest and recovery time during any given shift worked.
For any nonexempt worker who is on the job for more than three-and-a-half hours in a given day, employers are required to afford a ten minute break period. Labor law dictates these breaks be provided as close to the middle of the shift as possible.
For longer shifts, the California Supreme Court recently found that:
“Employees are entitled to 10 minutes’ rest for shifts from three and one-half to six hours in length, 20 minutes for shifts of more than six hours up to 10 hours, 30 minutes for shifts of more than 10 hours up to 14 hours, and so on.”
Unlike in a meal break, your employer can require that you stay at your worksite during your rest. However, they may not require that you perform any work functions– like answering the phones– while you are technically “resting.”
The State of California requires employers compensate employees with an extra hour of pay if they do not provide a rest period.
“If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period or rest period in accordance with an applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.”
However, if an employee decides to skip their rest break on their own accord, this is not applicable.
Employers must pay employees at their regular rate of pay for all rest breaks as time worked. For piece-rate workers in the state, they must also pay via an hourly rate, and payment must be clearly documented on an employee’s pay stub as a separate hourly wage. Read more on how piece-rate payment calculations must be made in California.
If your employer failed to provide you access to proper rest breaks and did not compensate you in return, contact Lauby, Mankin & Lauby LLP for a no-cost consultation and our lawyers will fight for your legal rights as an employee. You can reach us online or call our toll free phone number at 888-959-8508.