In California, employers are legally required to provide their employees with at least a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours they work and then every major fraction thereof. As well as a meal period of at least 30 minutes if an employee work more than 5 hours in a workday and a second meal period if an employee works more than ten hours in a workday.
Now, you may be thinking what’s the big deal if I don’t require my employees to follow rest break and meal period requirements?
Well, if an employer fails to provide an employee with a compliant meal period or rest break (i.e., fails to get an uninterrupted 30-minute meal period or an employee doesn’t get a rest break) then an employee is entitled to one rest break premium or one meal period premium for each workday in which an employee fails to receive one or both of the legally required rest break or meal periods.
While this may not seem significant, meal period and rest break premiums can add up quickly! If an employee is entitled to a meal period and/or rest break premium, an employer must pay the employee one (1) additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday in which the employee is not provided a meal period or rest break and should be included in that pay period’s paycheck.
How can I minimize my risk?
There are various ways to limit you risk. First, you should have your meal and rest break policy in writing, and signed by each employee, so your employees understand what they are entitled to and your policy surrounding meal and rest breaks. Second, depending on your business, you can create a staggered meal and rest break schedule for your employees to follow to ensure that everyone gets a compliant meal period and rest breaks and ensure your business operations are covered throughout the day. Lastly, employers should audit timesheets weekly to ensure that rest breaks and meal periods are taken in a compliant manner and recorded each day.
For more information regarding meal and rest break requirements or assistance in drafting a meal and rest break policy and other legally required employment policies, contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-881-2938 for legal assistance near you.