Rest Periods

What Are Rest Periods?

California labor laws have strict requirements in place regarding rest periods for employees, and under these laws, rest periods are required for non-exempt employees who work four or more hours in a single workday. In other words, if you, as a non-exempt California employee, work a regular eight-hour day, the law says that you are entitled to at least 20 minutes’ worth of rest period during your shift. Unfortunately, not all employers follow the law and if employees aren’t aware of their right to an uninterrupted rest periods during the workday, they may never know that their rights have been violated. For more information about rest period requirements and other California labor laws, or to find out what happens to employers who violate these laws, consult our knowledgeable wage and hour attorney at Davtyan Law Firm today.

California Rest Period Requirements

Under California law, certain non-exempt employees must be provided with an uninterrupted rest period of at least 10 minutes for every four hours worked, or a “major fraction” thereof, and the rest period must be counted as time worked and paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. According to a California Supreme Court decision, employers must also relieve employees of all duties during rest periods and must relinquish any control over how employees spend their rest period.

Unless it is not possible, California law indicates that the required rest period for non-exempt employees working three and a half or more hours should fall in the middle of the work day. For employees whose total work day is less than three and a half hours, a rest period is not required by law.

Rest Period Violations in California

Rest period requirements were put in place to protect the rights of California employees, and any employer who fails to provide an employee with a rest period in accordance with these requirements is in violation of California labor law. In such cases, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that a rest period was not provided. If the employer fails to pay the additional one hour’s pay, the employee can file a wage claim to recover compensation in the amount of one additional hour of pay for each day a rest period was not authorized or permitted.

How a California Labor Law Attorney Can Help

Employment law is complicated, and it is easy for employees to misunderstand their rights under California labor laws. It is even easier for employers to misrepresent employees’ rights or to ignore the basic privileges they are required to provide employees. Rest break violations, for example, continue to be a source of significant litigation in California. Keep in mind that California labor laws were put in place specifically as a protection for employees and in many cases, the state law in California provides even more comprehensive protections than federal law. If you are unsure of your employment rights under California law, an experienced wage and hour attorney can help you understand whether you may be entitled to compensation from your employer for refused rest periods.

Contact Our CA Wage and Hour Lawyers Today

It may not seem like a big deal for an employer to refuse to permit rest periods for his or her employees, but this constitutes a violation of California labor law and employees refused rest periods during the workday are entitled to compensation for these violations. If your employer in California refuses to provide proper rest breaks during the workday, or if your employer terminates or otherwise retaliates against you for objecting to his or her failure to provide rest breaks as required by law, contact our California employment law attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a wage and hour lawsuit or a discrimination/retaliation lawsuit against your employer in court, and our knowledgeable lawyer can help.

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Based in California, we focus exclusively on employment law, protecting employees' rights. We handle a broad range of employment disputes including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, among others.

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