Meal & Rest Breaks
Missed Meal & Rest Breaks in San Diego
Your Workplace Rest Periods Benefit You & Your Employer
Because rest and meal breaks can increase workers’ productivity throughout the day, employers have a vested interest in adhering to the laws that protect their employees. Some employers, however, are prone to violate rest break or meal wage laws in San Diego, which can cause workers stress, physical ailments, and even create a dangerous working environment.
California law requires employers to provide non-exempt employees with an unpaid 30-minute meal break for shifts more than five hours, and a second meal break for shifts more than 10 hours. Employees may waive their first meal break for shifts that do not exceed six hours.
Employees are entitled to an additional hour of pay for every day the employer fails to provide a lawful meal break. To be a lawful meal break, employees must be free of all work duties for at least 30 minutes. Meal breaks are not lawful if employees are required to remain at work, be available to wait on customers or respond to calls, perform other work, or remain on “stand-by” during the break.
On-Duty Meal Breaks
Although California law requires employers to provide employees with meal breaks in which employees are completely relieved of all duties, there is one exception to that rule. If the nature of the work prevents employees from leaving for off-duty breaks – such as a lone cashier at a convenience store or a paramedic – the law allows employers to provide employees with a paid on-duty meal break. Additionally, employees must agree in writing to take these kinds of break.
Employers sometimes require employees to take on-duty breaks even though the nature of work does not prevent the employee from being able to leave work for a meal break. For example, if a security guard works at a job site with 10 other guards, an on-duty meal break is not appropriate if the guards could easily relieve each other for breaks. If employers require employees to take paid on-duty breaks, even though the employers could easily provide off-duty breaks, then the employees are entitled to an additional hour of compensation for each day they were not provided the opportunity to take an off-duty break.
California Rest Break Laws
California law requires employers to give employees a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. Employers must clearly communicate to employees that they are permitted to take rest breaks, which must come as near as practicable to the middle of the four-hour period and not be grouped together or taken at the end of the day. Employees are entitled to an additional hour of pay for each day they were not provided with any of their entitled rest breaks.
If your rest breaks happened back-to-back, you might be entitled to damages or other remedies. Call AMartin Law at (619) 268-6585 to get the legal help you need now.