Sometimes employers provide the employee with a rest or lunch break, which can be paid or unpaid. According to the federal wage and hour law, known as Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay for hours worked, including certain times designated by the employer as “breaks”. The employee is obliged to pay also if the employee eats lunch at her desk while working or a repair person who grabs a quick bite while driving from one job to the next. According to the federal law, an employee is allowed to take from five to 20 minutes break, which is considered a part of a workday, and for what they have to be paid. If the employee leaves his workplace to have a meal break, then the employers do not have to pay for it. Usually, a meal lasts for at least 30 minutes.
In California, the employers are required to provide breaks and also they have to pay employees for some of this time. Thus, if you work in California, your employer must offer both a paid meal break and rest breaks.
What is Meal Break?
If the employee worked during five hours, the employer must give him or her 30-minute meal break, however, the employer does not have to pay for this time. This rule covers employers working in retail service, food and beverage, commercial support service, dry cleaning and housekeeping, health and medical industries. Nonetheless, some professions are specifically excluded from this requirement, such as teachers and nurses.
What is Rest Breaks?
CA law also requires employers to provide rest breaks, as for example for every four hours the employee should be given paid ten-minute rest break. In practice, these breaks must be provided in the middle of the work period.
What to Do If You Aren’t Getting Your Breaks in California?
You can contact your state labor department, if you aren’t allowed to take legally required breaks, and have to work through your break time. Otherwise, you can hire an experienced and skilled employment lawyer who can protect your rights.