In California, non-exempt employees (those entitled to overtime) must be provided one 30 minute uninterrupted meal break after 5 hours of work. The 30 minute break need not be paid. However, if an employee is required to work through his or her meal break, or the break is interrupted, the employee must be compensated for this time. Employees who are not provided required meal breaks are also entitled to recover premium pay -- equivalent to one additional hour of wages -- for each workday they miss a break. An employer is required to keep records of meal breaks provided to employees.
In addition to meal breaks, non-exempt employees are also entitled to a 10 minute rest break for each 4 hours worked. Unlike meal breaks, rest breaks must be paid and the employer is not required to keep records of the provision of such breaks. Similar to meal breaks, however, for each day an employer does not allow a required rest break, the employee is entitled to one additional hour of wages.
The Hayes Employment Law Practice has defended and prosecuted numerous cases involving claims for missed meal and rest breaks. If you need assistance with a meal or rest break issue, please contact us to discuss your situation as (626) 808-HELP (4357).