Image of lunch box and drinking bottle. Meal and rest break violations breach in California employment law.

Meal and Rest Break Violations

California employers are required to provide their non-exempt employees with uninterrupted meal breaks. A non-exempt employee who works a shift longer than 5 hours is entitled to a 30 minute meal break. If a shift last longer than 10 hours, the employee is entitled to two 30 minute meal breaks.



Meal Breaks Must Be Uninterrupted

For a meal break to be valid, it must be uninterrupted. That means that your employer should relieve you of all duties and that your employer cannot prevent or discourage you from taking your break. If you are not allowed to leave your job site or if you are required to remain on-call during your meal break, you may have a claim.

California Rest Period Requirements

As a non-exempt employee, you are entitled to a 10 minute rest period (also known as a rest break) every 4 hours you work. If you work an average 8 hour day, this means you should get two 10 minute rest periods and one 30 minute meal break. Moreover, your employer is required to continue paying you during your 10 minute rest periods.

How Much is My Meal and Rest Period Claim Worth?

An experienced attorney can help you to understand the laws that apply to your claim and help you to determine whether your claim is worth pursuing and how much money may be on the line. California law states that an employer who fails to provide a meal period must pay an employee an additional hour of pay for each day in which a violation occurred. An employer who fails to provide a rest period must pay the employee an another hour of pay. These violations can add up quickly. As an example, an employee who has worked for a company for 3 years, making $15 per hour, working a standard work week, who was not provided meal and rest breaks could have a claim worth up to $22,500.