breakfast2Ques­tion:

Can Cal­i­for­nia nonex­empt employ­ees waive lunch breaks? What are the require­ments for the two rest breaks for an 8‑hour shift?

Answer:

In Cal­i­for­nia, if employ­ees work more than 6 hours in a work­day, they may not waive their meal peri­od. Accord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Labor Code, an employ­er may not employ an employ­ee for a work peri­od of more than 5 hours per day with­out pro­vid­ing the employ­ee with a meal peri­od of no less than 30 minutes.

How­ev­er, if the total work peri­od per day of the employ­ee is no more than 6 hours, the meal peri­od may be waived by mutu­al con­sent of both the employ­er and employ­ee. An employ­er may not employ an employ­ee for a work peri­od of more than 10 hours per day with­out pro­vid­ing the employ­ee with a sec­ond meal peri­od of no less than 30 min­utes. How­ev­er, if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the sec­ond meal peri­od may be waived by mutu­al con­sent of the employ­er and the employ­ee only if the first meal peri­od was not waived.

In Cal­i­for­nia, employ­ees are enti­tled to a 10-minute paid rest peri­od for every 4 hours worked. Each rest peri­od is sup­posed to take place as close to the mid­dle of each 4‑hour work peri­od as possible.

Exam­ple of Meal and Rest Peri­ods in an 8‑Hour Shift

John Doe is sched­uled to work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. He is allowed two 10-minute paid rest peri­ods and one 30-minute unpaid meal peri­od dur­ing his 8‑hour shift. John Doe takes his rest and meal peri­ods as fol­lows, in com­pli­ance with Cal­i­for­nia meal and rest peri­od requirements:

10:15 a.m.: 10-minute rest period
12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.: 30-minute unpaid meal period
3:30 p.m.: 10-minute rest period

John Doe received his meal peri­od before the end of the 5th work­ing hour and both his rest peri­ods in the mid­dle of each 4 hours worked.

Sources:

www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_mealperiods.htm
www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_restperiods.htm

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