california meal break law, california rest break law

Under California meal break law (which is much more generous to employees than federal labor law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday.  You are also entitled to a 10-minute uninterrupted, duty-free rest breaks for every 4 hours you work (or “major fraction” thereof). If your boss doesn’t comply with break law requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a meal break violation occurred, and another extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a rest break violation occurred.

Meal Break & Rest Break Calculator

This meal break and rest break calculator will tell you how many meal and/or rest breaks you are entitled to under California labor law.

Start of Your Shift (e.g., "9:00 am"): End of Your Shift (e.g., "5:00 pm"):
(The page will refresh after you press "calculate". Scroll down to see results in blue text.)


California Rest Break Law Chart

Hours on the ClockRest Breaks
0 – 3:29 hrs0
3:30 – 6 hrs1
6:01 – 10 hrs2
10:01 – 14 hrs3
14:01 – 18 hrs4
18:01 – 22 hrs5

California Rest Break Requirements

  • Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes that are uninterrupted.
  • Rest breaks must be paid.
  • If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to one rest break. If you work over 6 hours, you are entitled to a second rest break. If you work over 10 hours, you are entitled to a third rest break.
  • Rest breaks must to the extent possible be in the middle of each work period. If you work 8 hours or so, you should have a separate rest break both before and after your meal break.
  • Your boss may not require you to remain on work premises during your rest breaks.
  • You cannot be required to work during any required rest breaks. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest breaks provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.

California Meal Break Law Chart

Hours on the ClockMeal Breaks
0 – 5 hrs0
5:01 – 10 hrs1
10:01 – 15 hrs2
15:01 – 20 hrs3
20:01 –4

California Meal Break Law Requirements

  • If you work over 5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the fifth hour of your shift. BUT, you can agree with your boss to waive this meal period provided you do not work more than 6 hours in the workday. You can also agree with your boss to an on-duty meal break which counts as time worked and is paid.
  • If you work over 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the tenth hour of your shift. You can agree with your boss to waive the second meal break if you do not work more than 12 hours and you did not waive your first meal break.
  • You must be allowed to take your meal break off work premises and spend your break how you wish, since it is off the clock.
  • You cannot be required to work during any required meal break. [Cal. Lab. C. 512].
  • As of 2012, your boss has an affirmative obligation to ensure that breaks are made available to you but the actual taking of meal breaks is left to the employee. In other words, you are responsible for “breaking” yourself.

Note, rest breaks and meal breaks are supposed to be separate, they should not be combined. Your boss cannot give you a single 1-hour break and say that that counts as all of your meal breaks and rest breaks.

Keep in mind, there are many exceptions to the above for certain industries, such as the construction, healthcare, group home, motion picture, manufacturing, and baking industries.

Can I Sue My Employer for Violating California Meal Break and Rest Break Law?

Yes you can, and you should. If your employer is denying you meal breaks and rest breaks, you would be entitled to receive a penalty of 1 hour wages per day you were denied any rest breaks, and an additional penalty of 1 hour wages per day you were denied any meal breaks (for a maximum penalty of up to 2 hours wages per day). We can help you file a California labor board complaint. Give us a call at (213) 992-3299. Note, your claims are subject to strict filing deadlines. For meal and rest break violations, the filing deadline is usually considered to be 3 years thanks to a recent California Supreme Court decision. [Murphy v Kenneth Cole Productions, 40 Cal.4th 1094 (2007)], but in certain cases, a 1 year filing deadline could apply.

I Am an Exempt Salaried Worker, Can I Still Sue My Employer?

The correct answer is “it depends”. There are many kinds of exemptions under California labor laws. If you are a supervisor, you may fall under the supervisor exemption, otherwise known as the executive exemption. But that exemption has many requirements which your employer may have blown. Also, other kinds of exempt employees are still entitled to meal break and rest break rights. For instance, truck drivers are often considered exempt. However, under California labor laws, they must still receive their meal breaks and rest breaks. Another example are “inside salespeople” who sell products or services while physically stationed at the employer’s office. While normally considered “exempt”, they are still entitled to meal breaks and rest breaks. Again, consult a lawyer to see if your situation qualifies for breaks.

Call (213) 992-3299 and Get Your Labor Board Complaint Started Now

Feel free to give us a call at (213) 992-3299 if you want to discuss filing a labor board complaint. We have successfully obtained awards for our clients in over 97% of our trials and hearings — one of the best trial records in the State of California. Let us put our decades of legal experience to work for you.

Photo courtesy of cjmellows

2,736 Comments

  1. Kh Alek on January 1, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I been working as a armed security officer for 12 hours a day, locked up in the store, no way to walk out of the store, he tells me to take my lunch in the store. Is this legal? I don’t get it.

    • Jim Reed on January 16, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Yes, it is legal. However your employer must pay you for the time you spend on your lunch break. And by the way if your working 12 hours a day you should be given 2 half hour lunch breaks. Also I believe that you must sign a waiver accepting these conditions. Don’t forget that you are also entitled to Three 10 minute rest breaks per 12 hour shift. If this is a situation of long standing you should contact a Labor Law Attorney. Google “California meal/rest Breaks Law” it will give the information you need.

  2. Bryan on December 31, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    If I work a total of 6 hours a day and my boss makes me take my 10 minute rest break after my first hour and then I work the next 5 hours straight, is that ok?

    • Chelsea Lewis on January 2, 2017 at 9:48 am

      He can have you take your ten after your first hour however he would also owe you a meal and anot her ten due to you working 6 hours

  3. Jennifer on December 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    if I start work at 8am am I REQUIRED to take my 30 minute meal break by noon? Am I allowed to take it at 2:30PM, by law? Is there a set amount of time that you are REQUIRED to take your meal break after you start work?

    • Chelsea Lewis on January 2, 2017 at 9:50 am

      There are set time limits that your employer has to get your breaks in; however for your meal the only requirement I have seen is to get it as close to the middle of your shift as possible. In the end as long as it’s not in your first or your last hour I haven’t seen anything to say otherwise.

    • Jim Reed on January 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Google “California Rest/Meal Break Law”. As I understand the current labor law you must take you meal break before the end of your 5th hour of work.

  4. JL on December 26, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I am an exempt employee recently terminated mid-pay period. Is the employer responsible for paying me through the end of the pay period, or only through the last day of work? Thank you – J Sacramento

    • Elizabeth on December 29, 2016 at 8:25 am

      Your employer is obligated to only pay you to the last day of work.

    • Chelsea Lewis on January 2, 2017 at 9:51 am

      He is only responsible for paying for the hours you have worked.

  5. XX on December 22, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Go to the C Division of Labor Standards Enforcement to file a complaint. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/HowToReportViolationtoBOFE.htm

  6. Melvin Flores on December 20, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Hi i work a full 8-9 hour shifts a day any my boss says I don’t get a 30 min lunch rest because there is no one to cover me is that wrong from him

    • Elizabeth on December 29, 2016 at 8:27 am

      yes, you are entitle to a 30 min lunch plus 30 minutes of over time.

    • Chelsea Lewis on January 2, 2017 at 9:55 am

      He owes you a 30 minutes or he has to pay you for a free hour. Legally if you do not get your breaks correctly then the employer must pay for an extra hour. EX. you work 9-5 and don’t get your ten then he pays you for the 8 hours you worked plus the extra hour for the missed break so at the end you would be paid for 9 hours even though you worked only 8. If he does not give you your breaks then does not pay the extra hour he owes you he is operating illegally by California standards.

  7. Hardworker on December 13, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    I was told today that during my lunch break I had to leave the premises because it is against the law for me to stay there. Is this true?

    • Mia on December 22, 2016 at 9:41 am

      Yes this can we true. You have to be released from your work duty

  8. Daniel Garcia on December 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Hello everyone!

    I have been working as a security guard/In n out clerk for 1 year and 9 months. Ever since I started working I have never gotten a break or lunch. I work 40hrs a week 8 hours a day. They asked us to sign a paper telling us to take a lunch break but this was 7 month after I was hired so I rejected to sign it due to the fact that they gave it to us after 7 months of work.

    The other thing I notice is that everyone else that works in my company (customer service, clerk workers) do get their 1hr lunch breaks except us the Guards/In n out clerks.

    Can this proceed to a law suit?

  9. Mr Bee on December 11, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    As a non-exempt employee, my former employer owes me unpaid wages (errors in yearly increase, and no payment for meal time penalties “clock in at 730a and go to lunch about 1pm’). I can go to the Labor Commissioner but I would like a lawyer to file a civil suit since there might be other claims possibly consider (retaliation).
    I am not the only employee that this has happened to, but I don’t want to be involved in a class action suit. I am paid about $70/hr. and have estimated the waiting time penalties of about $18K and actual unpaid wages of about $8k.
    Must this be filed as a class action with your office?

  10. james hitch on December 11, 2016 at 9:37 am

    my employer of almost 2 years never allowed us to take two 10 min. breaks during my work shift, until lately, he insist that we now take two 10 min. am i now owed payment for the time that i did not receive my break?

    • J on December 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      It is mandatory for a employer to allow an employee to take a 10 minute break for every 4 hours they work if they are working for more 3.5 hours. So if have been working a full 8 hour shift and you were forbidden to take your second 10 minute rest break, your employer is breaking the law. I’m not about payment because your 10 minute breaks are paid. However, I’m am sure you should be compensated for not being allowed to take your mandatory second break as stated in California law

  11. Vanessa Rojas on December 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Ok im a dispatcher in a 24/7 taxi company we have 8 hr shitfs but only entitled to a 15 min break is this legal?? My boss says we dont have the same lunch/break rules like other employer’s?? This is in ca

    • Chelsea Lewis on January 2, 2017 at 10:00 am

      I’d talk to a professional because when I lived in Florida I worked as HR and that was correct there for our employees who drove around. So he might be correct considering some states consider your drive time your not actually working as a break

  12. Help me on December 1, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    I work 10-14 hour days my employer wants me to clock in and take my lunch at the 0- :30 minute mark of my day. Yes the first 30 minutes of my day is my lunch. I then do not get another break or lunch after that. I know not getting a break is illegal along with not a second lunch option. But is it legal to make me take my lunch as i start my day? If so what is the point of a law saying you have to have a lunch break why not make a law that says eat before you show up to work.

  13. eric on December 1, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I work as a local truck driver making deliveries all day. My day is always at least 12 to 14 hours a day. I take a break every 2.5 hours from the time I clock in. Maybe driving is under a different set of rules , but I never heard of working 4 hours before your 1st break. That doesn’t make much sense if you have to take a lunch by your 5th hour on the clock. Am I missing something?

    • Cqlega on December 2, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Yes, the correct form to state it is 10 minutes for every 4 hours. That being said you take your 10 min minimum break between those 4 hours, basically every 2 hours. So every 2 hours you should be taking some sort of break be it Rest (paid, 10 min Minimum) or Lunch (free, 30 min Minimum).

  14. Loks1r on November 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    I work 10 hours a day and we take a 45 minute lunch (lunch and a break). Is that legal in California?

    • Sir Tormen on December 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

      No, your Rest Breaks and your Meal Breaks cannot be combined.

    • XX on December 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Mea breaks are not aid. So if you combine them then your 1 minute rest break is not paid. Youre losing out.Also, You can’t combine them.

  15. Mr.unknown on November 21, 2016 at 8:54 am

    I get my meal break 3 hrs and 45 min into my shift but work less then 8hrs. How many rest breaks I’m I entitled to?

  16. Blanca on November 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    My employer wants us to clack in and out for lunch. I work in the laboratory every computer is contaminated. If we clack in and than we wash our hands and removed lab coats we already waisted like five minutes from our lunch is that legal?

  17. Erik on November 9, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    So I recently took a job as a salaried General Manager of a car dealer here in CA.
    Does this mean I am not entitled to meal breaks?

    • Cqlegal on December 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

      Salaried Managers fall under a different area in the Labor code. You are an exempt employee, you are required to take a lunch but the rules are different as is OT pay. You may want to look into it better as an exempt employee.

  18. brian on November 9, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    today i am working a 6 hour shift. I work at a restaurant in california. I just got my first 10 minute break 5 hours in. When i asked if they wanted to break me or send me home after 5 hours they said “neither” and that I would stay for my 6. When I showed them this article they said that we don’t follow those at this restaurant. Is that legal?

    • JShea on November 28, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Umm no. Not legal at all. California restaurants are not exempt from the same rules as most other industries.

    • Larissa on November 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm

      In CA you can’t work more than 6 hours without a break… If you’re off by 6 or before, it’s very legal

      • Sir Tormen on December 15, 2016 at 7:41 am

        Actually, it is legal only if you AND your employer agree. If you want to take a meal break before your 5th hour of work, then you can. If you want to waive the meal break, then you need to have signed a form that states this and be in your employee file. The form does not stop you from changing your mind, just gives you the right to waive it.

  19. Blake Mitchell Husen on November 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Funny thing; im on the other end of the spectrum. I am trying to find a way to work my eight hour shift without taking my half hour break. Is it optional as long as im given the opportunity, or is it legally mandatory for me to take the break? If i take the paid on duty lunch break can i go straight through the eight hours?

    • cqlegal on December 2, 2016 at 6:30 am

      Yes, breaks are required in CA period. You may take a On Duty lunch and get paid but some employers choose not to do this since it is to close to call 100%. I would say that most employers would rather clock you out and play it safe.

      • Jim Reed on January 16, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        I’m no Lawyer, but California Labor Law states that you are entitled to a 10 minute paid rest break for every 4 hours worked and every major fraction thereof (CSC has ruled that 2 hours or more is a major fraction of 4 hours) so if your actual work time is 6 hours your are entitled to 2 10 minute rest breaks plus one meal break. Since the meal break is unpaid you must clock out. therefore if you start at 8AM your final clock out would be 2:30PM for a total of 6.5 hours you would get two 10 minute rest breaks and one half hour meal break. You can waive these but you must sign an agreement with your employer Stating the same

  20. Harry Potter on October 22, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I work 8 hours… I do get a 1hr lunch break… how many “breaks” am I entitled to. (Says 1 per 4 hours…so I assume 2….) (but the boss has all of a sudden changed the rules or something… can someone let me know if this is cool? Its retail work.

  21. Kammy Major on October 12, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I was hired on as a manager at a restaurant for $45,00/year, $15.75/ hr, a 50 hour work week. When I received my first check, it was for $14.43 an hour. What they did was lower my pay rate to pay the meal penalty. Is this legal? The paper I signed didn’t say anything about me paying the penalty.

    • JShea on November 28, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Not if you’re in California…

  22. Ayme Flores on October 4, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Hello i worke frm. 5 to 11. Is a 6hrs.shift do i have to take a break.

    • Joe Bonilla on October 14, 2016 at 7:10 am

      a 10 min break and a 30 min meal break.

    • Fi Fi on November 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      I work 6 hrs too for Japanese american company per day and there is no break nor meal break at all. Cos HR said under 6 hrs, we can’t take meal break. More than 6 hrs, we can take meal break

  23. sharon on October 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

    I’m partime and my employer has put me down only 2.5 hours the whole week is that legal

  24. Derek on September 30, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    I work an 8hr shift 12:30pm-8:30pm what time do i take my 30min break?

  25. Carolina on September 28, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Hello. I am working more than 8 hours a day. I get my unch before the 5th hour but then after my lunch i work between 5- 6 hours before I get off with one 10 min break. Am i suppose to get off before the 2nd 5th hour or another lunch then? Is there a maximun amount of hours I can work without a lunch again after my first lunch?

  26. Marie on September 27, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Can an employer require hourly employees to take a one hour lunch break in California? Meaning, the policy states that they must clock out for a 1 hour lunch break and instead of working from 8:30-5, work 8:30-5:30. Is that legal? Is it legal to give the option?

    • Cqlegal on December 2, 2016 at 6:36 am

      Lunch breaks are required to a 30 min. Minimum. That being said, yes they can require you to take a 1 hour lunch. That should have been stated during hiring or initial training, you accepting employment, you accept policy. That being said if it is a policy that you take a 1 hour lunch, especially if it is in your employee hand book you may be written up if you do not follow company policy and take the 1 hour lunch.

  27. Maria on September 25, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    I work 12 hr shifts for 4 years now in a health care facility and ever since I started, i am not able to take my lunch break often after 8 hrs to 10 hrs of work because oftentimes i am the only RN in the Unit and sometines the whole facility. No one can relieve me. Is there a California law about getting paid overtime after 6 hrs of work up to the time i am able to get to my 30 min lunch break? How about my 2nd lunch break? I don’t think i ever got any second 30 min . How can i when i can hardly get my first? I can’t remember if i signed a waiver for any break. To my recollection i did’n’t. Isn’t my facility liable for not providing a relief nurse so that i can have my off unit or off premises break? And even when i am clocked out, i still have to stay in the unit because if a patient becomes a Code Blue i have to be present. Your input and insight will be highly appreciated!

  28. Miriam on September 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve been on my job for 6 years. Things are getting out of hand. New employees are getting payed more than me and they are always trying to make me do more. I’m a caregiver I have tried to resign in 2013 for treating me bad but after they convinced me after many calls and a letter from my boss which I still have stating Im a great worker I returned to work. I work 12hr shifts 3/4 days a week I also work two or three 24hr shifts in a month. We don’t get breaks or lunch plus I haven’t received a raise since 2013 when I tried to quit. Everytime I work 24 hrs straight they pay me regular pay 8hrs and time and half 4hrs and the rest 12 hrs is cash and regular pay! They say that its regular pay because they deduct taxes themselves. This is in California

    • Cqlegal on December 2, 2016 at 6:40 am

      First 8 OK second 4 OK last 12 … Not ok to my knowledge we are talking about Double and Tripple time. This is being done to avoid the extra pay they must give. Check your W2 I am almost certain the amounts will not add up at the end of the year. If this is true, this is not going into your taxes, problems with the IRS, or to SS or any other tax deduction.

  29. Liondayz on September 21, 2016 at 1:27 am

    At my current job i have to mandatory take ny 30 min break aft 1.5 hours of being on the clock for example. I go in at 3pm and take my break at 4:30. Back to work at 5 until 10:30 i can take a 10 if im lucky. And then leave by 11:30 dometimes even 1 am. So anyways im always hungry and feeling weak since i cant eat is this ok? Because im getting very tired and weak every single day.

  30. Howard Mack on September 20, 2016 at 5:53 am

    I hired on with a agency that worked me from 7/7/16 until 9/12/16 with NO lunch breaks, can I sue my employer. I worked up to 16 hours a day sometimes. On 9/12 they made up this policy and emailed it to the employess stating lunches would be required as of 8/26. We asked if this policy was going to be retroactive to the policy date and we were told NO it wasn’t going to be applied backwards. When we got paid I noticed they had taken money out of my check. Can an employer do that without my consent? And to add insult to injury when I complained I was suspended the next day at work on an indefinite leave of abscence and I wasn’t paid my final wages. DO I NEED AN ATTY?

    • TrevorR on October 1, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Yes for sure that is complete bull****

  31. CaliMom on September 17, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Hello there,
    I have not had rest breaks for 6 years at my place of employment in California. I work a 40 hour week and take just a 30 minute lunch daily.
    Recently our employer told us to take ten minute rest breaks after realizing I and others should be taking 2 ten minute rest breaks per day.
    1. Can I file a complaint with the EDD for the rest breaks I was not given for 6 years?
    2. Is it advisable to try to settle the unpaid rest breaks with employer first?
    2. And, for what portion of time is my employer responsible for paying the breaks retroactively? Is it one or three years or more?
    I also read that for each day they were in violation they must pay one extra hour of reguar ay per day.
    Thank you for your help!

  32. Ana on September 13, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I work for an orthodontics and we get 2 breaks within an 8 hour shift the only thing is that they always send us to break after 30 min that we clock in! for example i go in at 9 by 9:30 they send me to break! can they do that? its suppose to be a break but when i really need the break i dont get one because i had it right after i clock in

  33. GABE on September 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    I work 8 hours most days but my lunch is never set. As in it always varies like today i havent taken a lunch break or any break really and i started at 8 am and its 3pm now. My boss said for me to right no lunch on my card or take my lunch before i go home today. Is that legal in california? I work in water remediation industry.

    • Levy on September 16, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Why didn’t you take a lunch break? You’re required by law to take your lunch. The reason why your boss wants you to write “no lunch” on your time card is to ensure you get paid for the time you worked and to ensure he’s safe from any legality issues since it was your decision not to take it. He also requested that you just take your lunch before you go home, so you don’t get paid overtime and that you’ll just get paid your normal 8 hour rate (assuming you work an 8-hour shift). As far as your lunch time never being set, that’s your issue. Just take your lunch at your halfway mark or after 6 hrs.

  34. Foo Ling Yu on September 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    So I’m working at a hole-in-the-wall type of bakery in Sacramento and I’m only getting one paid 10-minute break for 6 hours that I work…this seems wrong to me.
    Mind you, this is the ONLY break I get, which is also supposed to be your meal break as well…because they let you pick one thing from the bakery to eat for free during this 10-minute period of paid-break time.

    I am reading that you are supposed to get a meal break as well as a 10 minute paid break if you go over 3.5 hours and over 5 hours means a 30 minute meal break (paid or unpaid, doesn’t matter — the point is I am not even getting that!)

    The only thing I get is one paid-10minute break for the full 6 – 7 hours I end up working in this place!!! Ridiculous!

    Also, this place does NOT pay you for every minute worked — for example if you work for 6 hours and 45 minutes, they will write you down for 6 hours and 30 minutes…leaving the extra 15 minutes unpaid but you still worked it.

    Is there something I can do about this place?

    Thanks in advance

  35. Kgf on September 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I work at a gas station and all employees no matter how long the shift is are only entitled 1 thirty minute lunch. I’ve been here for 6 months and not once have I received a rest break even if I work 8hrs. Is this right?

  36. Pj on September 9, 2016 at 5:33 am

    In an 8 hr shift in a medical office is it correct to be required to take a 1 hour lunch break after 2 hours?

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. As long as your meal break is starting before the START of the sixth hour of your shift.

  37. CSerrano10 on September 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    If I work a 5hr shift, do I have to take a meal break? If so, does it have to be 45min? Our company is saying this is the new meal break law in California.

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Every industry is different, and some industries have special rules. But in general, you are entitled to one unpaid 30-minute meal break if you work over 5 hours in a day.

      • sergio ceballos on September 15, 2016 at 6:08 am

        so what if you are pass the 5hr do i get a on duty lunch and get paid an extra hour

  38. Jennifer on August 29, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Hi, I work as a Campus Supervisor at a Middle School, which is basically part security part guidance counselor. When I was promoted to this position almost a year ago, my direct supervisor made no mention of breaks me what so ever. My parter informed me that I could take my meal breaks after his. Since then I’ve pretty much worked from 8:00am until 2:00 or 3:00pm before getting a designated meal, and my shift ends at 4:00. Occasionally I get a chance to try to sit and get something quickly in my tummy before then, and there’s never been mention of a break after my lunch. What is required and what do you recommend?

  39. Quest on August 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    i just quit my horrible job of 2.5 years. They gave me my last paycheck, but withheld my cash tips, my sales bonus and my quarterly bonus. They have no intention of paying me, I do have every intention of getting the money I earned, I just need to learn the process. Also I worked from 8:50 am to 7:00 pm, no lunch and no breaks. They had me sign a lunch waiver and paid me one hour for it, but no breaks-at all, ever. What can I or should I do about this. I would never have thought to do anything, but upon quitting I was treated very badly, solely for the reason that I just did not want to work there anymore-it was a hostile work environment that no one should ever have to deal with. Thanks for any help or suggestions!

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      I would file a complaint if I were you.

  40. Zaferia Cambra on August 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Getting paid for 5.75 hours. Working 6.5 hours with a 45 minute unpaid lunch. Shouldn’t they pay me for 6 hours? Am I getting ripped off 15 min a day?

    • sam on August 27, 2016 at 12:30 am

      u retard do the math… ur getting payed for 5hrs 45min…… u worked 6hrs 30min minus your 45minute break which equals what? 5hrs and 45min… that’s elementary school shit

      • Isidro Viruel on August 27, 2016 at 11:42 am

        You retard hes talking about the 15 minute break (paid) we deserve for working more than 4 hours.

      • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:47 pm

        I understood what he was asking. I didn’t think the question was dumb at all. He had understood that meal breaks are unpaid, but only up to 30 minutes. In fact, they can be unpaid up to 1 hour. After that, they may trigger split shift premiums.

      • Pauline Wong-Felix on September 27, 2016 at 7:38 pm

        please be mindful of language, no one is a retard, if you term him a retard so are you because our essence are all the same from God! If we do not understand we ask questions that si what wise people do!

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      No you are not getting shorted on pay. Lunch breaks are unpaid. Lunch breaks can be up to 1 hour long and still be unpaid. If they go over 1 hour, then you might be entitled to a split shift premium.

      Rest breaks, on the other hand, are paid.

  41. Ashley Cotter on August 26, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I’m trying to not get in trouble at work. I work five hour shifts, and don’t get a lunch.

    I’m trying to find out how long my breaks are supposed to be.

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      If you work exactly 5 hours or less, you are NOT entitled to a 30 minute meal break. Your work hours have to exceed 5 hours in order to get a meal break. If you work over 3.5 hours, however, you are entitled to one paid 10-minute rest break.

  42. pissed off on August 25, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Hello..I work 8 hours a day as an independent insurance agent. My boss says I absolutely HAVE to clock out for at LEAST 30 minutes for lunch every day. Is this a law?

    • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      It’s not illegal for him to require you to take the meal break. It may be illegal for him to deny it to you (assuming you wanted it) if you are a non-exempt employee.

    • capstone sucks on September 12, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Is it illegal to take my lunch 2 minutes before my six hours?

      • Eugene Lee on September 12, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        That’s cutting it close, but so long as the meal starts before the START of the sixth hour, that is legal.

        • capstone sucks on September 12, 2016 at 9:46 pm

          Also they make me work overtime. Do I have the right to deny?

          • Eugene Lee on September 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

            You can’t generally deny requests by the employer to work overtime (unless you need a reasonable accommodation of a disability, for instance). If you do, that could lead to discipline, including termination. However, you DO have the right to be paid for the work you are asked/ordered to do, including overtime.

  43. Needhelp on August 25, 2016 at 12:22 am

    I work in the kitchen of a restaurant. My boss tells the entire staff to come to work 30 minutes before scheduled time to take our meal breaks. So if I am on the clock at 3pm, I am to arrive at 2:30, break, and come back to work. Boss says it is not “reasonable” to allow us to leave in the middle of a busy dinner service so we have to break early.Regardless, the entire staff works through their meal breaks and most of us forget to clock back in after 30 minutes is up because we are stuck cooking and simply loose track of time. Now management is telling me if I accidentaly take a 35 or 45 minute break that I will be “written up and eventually terminated”, because our managers have to adjust our break times back when we forget to clock back in and its becoming a nuisance. I have been thinking about talking to a lawyer but I’m not sure if any of this is illegal. I also don’t really have any proof that I have been working through my breaks for the past two years. It seems as if it will be my word against theirs, and they have really good lawyers. I am one of the ones who regularly forgets my clock in time because I spend so much time off the clock (showing up early, working through breaks) that I need regular time adjustments by a manager. I am having a meeting with management on sunday and they plan to threaten me with termination. I don’t know what to do or say to them. Any suggestions would be welcomed! Thanks

  44. Edward Donald Hernandez on August 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    My employer has us sign or I should say clock in at or before our call time. For example if my call time is 5:00 am I may clock in at 4:30am to be prepared to pre-trip my Bus to depart the lot at 5:15am. There have been times when either myself of another employee was made to speak with Management or view a section of video footage prior to our call time. We were not paid for said time or if it occurred after work hours and also during our split time which is also unpaid?

  45. Sarmiento on August 21, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    I work in a restaurant. I always work shifts that are 7-8 hrs. My manager always MAKES me take a 30 min break two hours into my shift. Can he make me take a break that early… He also makes faces when i ask to take a 10min break and looks at me and says later… Does he have the right to do so?

    • Eugene Lee on August 24, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      You must be allowed to take rest breaks as close to the middle of each 4 hour period as reasonably possible. Making faces and saying “later” qualifies as rest break denial if you aren’t ultimately allowed to take at least one 10-min rest break for each 4 hours worked.

      Lunch breaks are normally supposed to come after at least one 10-min rest break. Unless there is a very good business reason for not doing that, your boss is likely violating the meal break laws.

      • Sarmiento on August 30, 2016 at 7:38 am

        What would qualify as being a good business reason?
        And yes he doesn’t give me a ten min break at all.

        • Eugene Lee on September 10, 2016 at 6:18 pm

          Just a few examples: you’re a paramedic and taking a rest break would mean the patient might die; you’re an air traffic controller and taking a rest break might result in planes crashing, etc.

  46. Aalf Alvarez on August 21, 2016 at 1:37 pm

    Are bosses allowed to work you 3-4 hours straight without a break? Sometimes I work 4 hours straight without any kind of break then afteter the 3rd or 4th hour I take a lunch then 2 breaks after

    • Eugene Lee on August 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      There should be at least one rest break before and one rest break after the meal break. Rest breaks are supposed to be permitted as close to the middle of each 4 hour period as possible. You may have a claim for rest break denial.

  47. Alberto on August 17, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    She was actually told by her HR manager/supervisor and she feels threatened and harassed. She has been struggling to gain a full-time job and now that she has proved herself, she is being told not to take her breaks in designated break areas of the terminal.

    • Eugene Lee on August 24, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Your friend needs to figure out WHY they are picking on her. If it is because of a protected characteristic, like her race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, etc. then being singled out like that could constitute illegal harassment/discrimination.

  48. Alberto on August 17, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    My name is Alberto. I know an assoicate of OD Bloomington, Ca that was told that she could not take her lunch break in a designated break area or visit with some of her co-workers. I feel that they are picking with my friend.

  49. Jenifer Elizabeth Velazquez on August 11, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    I have a burning question. I work at a small feed store in California where no one mentions ever a break. They kind of get mad if they see you taking a ten minute break. They once told me that being able to go to the washroom when I needed to was my break. I thought that was outrageous. I just want to know if that’s right or if it’s straight up illegal and if it’s illegal who can I call to have the store looked at?

    • Eugene Lee on August 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      A restroom visit does NOT constitute a rest break. That is “straight up illegal”. They cannot discourage or deny your 10-minute rest breaks. If they are, and it sounds like it, you should file a complaint.

  50. Yesse on August 11, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    I work for a non profit organization and we are training at the moment, but on Friday they told us that we were going to be working through our lunch on Monday, Basically saying that we aren’t getting a lunch, they did give us 2 separate 15 minute breaks. We started training at 8:30 am and took our first break at 10:30am and worked through our lunch and took our other break at around 3:00pm. They told us today that because our breaks basically totaled out to 30 minutes that we basically got our lunch and that we will not be getting the full 8 1/2 hours. Is that legal? because we did not sign a waiver to waive our lunch they just told us. Any advice?

    • Cora on August 18, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Labor violations can be reported to:
      http://law.scu.edu/faculty/profile/silver-taube-ruth/
      Ruth will help you know your rights and aid in prosecution when necessary. This typr of treatment should never never occur in any organization, especially a non-profit.

      • Yesse on August 29, 2016 at 7:15 pm

        thank you.

    • Eugene Lee on August 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Highly illegal. Rest breaks cannot substitute for a meal break, and must be paid. Meal breaks need not be paid. But here, you didn’t get a meal break. If they are going to deduct 30 minutes from your work day, then you didn’t get your two paid 10-min rest breaks. If they say you got your two rest breaks, then you didn’t get your lunch PLUS you also must get paid for 30 minutes of overtime since rest breaks are supposed to be paid. The employer can’t have it both ways. I recommend you file a complaint

      • Yesse on August 29, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        Thank you.

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