Find A California Labor Lawyer for Rest and Meal Break Claims
Non-exempt employees have a right to a thirty-minute lunch or meal break. If a worker/employee works more than five hours per day, this criterion applies. Employers should provide a second 30-minute meal break to employees who work more than ten hours per day. Set up an appointment with an Employment Law Attorney in California to help you.
Who Are Entitled To California's Meal and Rest Period Law?
The meal and rest break laws, like the California overtime legislation, only apply to non-exempt employees. White-collar exempt employees make up the majority of non-exempt employees in California.
It must also be clear that the employee uses independent judgment and discretion regularly when performing their job. If a white-collar exempt employee works full-time, they must earn at least twice the California minimum wage.
Meal and rest break laws in California do not apply to workers who fit the legal definition of an independent contractor. In some cases, the meal and rest break restrictions may not apply to unionized staff.
For unionized employees who work in specified industries, collective bargaining agreement rules on meal and rest periods may overrule California regulations.
For any confusion, ask your California Employment Law Attorney.
You Should Not Be Working On Your Rest And Meal Breaks
According to the law, an employer cannot force an employee to work or be on call during a meal or rest break. If your employer asks or requires you to work while eating, you have the legal right to refuse. Likewise, if your boss tells you to stay on call during a break, you have the right to refuse. The legal equivalent of denying employees their meal or rest breaks if an employer makes such requirements.
It's vital to remember that it's not the employer's responsibility to make sure you don't work during your meal or rest break. Likewise, the employer is not liable for an employee's behavior if they decide to work during their meal break.
When You Have Meal Breaks While on Duty
"On duty" meal periods may apply in specific cases. If the nature of your job prohibits you from receiving relieve from tasks, you may be entitled to an "on duty" meal break.
An employee can also make a written agreement to stay on duty or at work during meal times. If an employee enters into the aforementioned agreement, they have the right to rescind it at any moment.
Can Your Boss Deny You Rest And Meal Breaks?
In California, an employee can sue their employer if they are denied a food or rest break. Under the terms of the Labor Code or labor regulations, an employee has the right to sue their employer. The majority of wage and hour class action lawsuits center on employers' refusal to provide employees with food breaks and rest periods.
If an employer refuses to allow a meal break, the employee must be compensated or paid. If an employer denies an employee a break, they are entitled to one hour's salary. For example, if your employer refuses you a lunch or rest break for the entire year of your employment, you are entitled to adequate compensation.
In most cases, a year's worth of pay equals 250 hours of work. The amount of remuneration is determined by the employee's usual pay rate. The hourly compensation is set to match an employee's hourly wage.
If an employer fails to provide breaks, an employee might collect up to one hour every workday in compensation for the time lost. As a result, an employee can earn two extra hours of settlement for a 12-hour work shift with no breaks for lunch or relaxation. One hour will be used to make up for the lunch break, while the other hour will be used to make up for the meal break.
Employers must provide sufficient rest areas for employees during rest breaks, according to the legislation. In addition, the resting space and the restrooms should be kept separate.
Is It Paid or Unpaid to Take a Meal Break?
The law does not require employers to compensate employees for their lunch and rest breaks. Although some firms offer paid meal breaks to their employees, California does not require it.
An employee may choose not to take a lunch break, particularly if the person is not paid during the break. Instead, the employee could choose to work during the meal or rest period to get home earlier. However, if a person works more than six hours a day, they must take a lunch break.
Even if the workplace is busy, companies cannot cancel employees' meal breaks under the law. When an employer summons an employee from a lunch break and tells them to return to work, it is the same as denying them a rest break. California labor regulations make it illegal to deny an employee a well-deserved rest period.
If you feel like you might have grounds, contact a California Labor Law Attorney to file claims.
Meal And Rest Breaks Under Federal Law
Employers are required by federal law to pay employees for all hours worked. This includes any periods designated by the employer as rest periods. For example, if an employee is required to work during a meal break, federal law mandates that the employee be compensated.
For the time spent working during the meal break, the receptionist must be compensated. A repairman who picks up takeout while driving to a job site is in the same situation. Even if the employer considers the time to be a lunch break, an employee must be compensated as long as they work.