California Meal and Rest Break

Do I receive my meal breaks properly?

Under California meal break law, each employee is entitled to a thirty-minute duty-free meal break at the end of the fifth hour if the employee works over six hours in a day. The meal break must be duty free, meaning that the employee should not be bothered during his/her meal break. The employee remains free to leave the job site or can do whatever pleases him or her.

Failure to receive a meal break prior to the end of the employee’s fifth hour is a violation of California Labor Code, and the employee is entitled to a premium payment. The premium payment should equal to one hour of pay in addition to the entire amount paid for the day. The premium payment must appear on the paystub as well.

Often employees are required to clock out and remain at work during their lunch break. This is a violation of California law. Employers are required to pay a premium for each meal break violation. Our team of employment attorneys in Los Angeles has experience prosecuting cases of meal break violations against California employers. These violations include off-the-clock work during meal breaks, short meal breaks, interrupted meal breaks or untimely meal breaks.

Am I entitled to a second meal break?

Employers are also required to give employees to have a 30-minute duty-free meal break by the end of the tenth hour, if the employee works more than 10 hours in one shift. This frequently happens when the employee works over 10 hours in one shift. In some industries, the second meal break may be waived if the employee and the employer reach an agreement in writing and the employee consents to the waiver prior to the beginning of his/her job.

If the employer was required to provide a second meal break and the employer fails to do so, then the employer is required to pay a premium for each violation which amounts to one hour of the employee’s hourly rate.

Can my employer round my time?

Most employers use an automated time recording system these days to calculate the accurate time worked by an employee. Another issue that affects accurate time calculation is the practice of rounding the time worked by employees. Rounding policies can be applied to meal periods so long as they are fair and neutral. If an employee’s time was rounded both upwards and downwards during their meal break and results in employees being paid for more time, then the policy is fair and neutral and consistent with California law. If you believe that your employer used a rounding system that was not neutral or fair, then please contact our team of attorneys at Employment Rights Law Group today.

What is a Split Shift?

A “split shift” occurs only when an employee’s designated working hours are interrupted by one or more unpaid, non-working periods established by the employer that are not bona fide rest or meal periods. The fact that a single continuous shift happens to begin during one “workday” and end in another does not result in a “split shift.” If the employee works two shifts separated by more than a rest or meal period, they are entitled to receive one hour of pay at the minimum wage rate in addition to the minimum wage for that workday. If your Employer had a policy of split shift in place and you did not receive one hour of minimum wage rate in addition to your daily wages, then you might have a case against your employer for a violation of California law. Please contact our team of attorneys at Employment Rights Law Group today for a free consultation.
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