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What Break Periods Am I Entitled To?

california rest break laws meal break lawsUnder California law (which is much more generous to employees than federal law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to meal and rest breaks: a 30-minute meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday, and 10 minutes breaks for every 4 hours you work. There are other requirements though. If your boss doesn’t comply with break requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a break violation occurred.

For the nitty gritties, see below:

Rest Breaks

  1. If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a rest break.
  2. Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes for each 4 hours worked.
  3. Rest breaks must to the extent possible be in the middle of each work period.
  4. Rest breaks must be paid.
  5. Your boss may require you to remain on work premises during your rest break.
  6. You cannot be required to work during any required rest break. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest break provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.

Meal Breaks

  1. If you work over 5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes. 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.
  2. If you work over 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes. 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.
  3. Your boss has an affirmative obligation to ensure you are free to take your meal break off work premises.
  4. You cannot be required to work during any required rest break. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. Your boss has an affirmative obligation to ensure you are actually relieved of all duty and are not performing any work during meal breaks.

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

If your employer is violating your rights to meal and rest breaks, you should contact a lawyer right away. Your claims could be 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.

Keep on taking those breaks!

Photo courtesy of cjmellows

1,215 Comments

  1. Anonymous on April 9, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I worked at the airport and since it’s a 24/7 operation Have a couple of questions, as a hourly employee:

    1. If an employee worked through lunch ( 30 minutes lunch break ) how much does an employer need to pay the employee? 1 hour regular or 30 minutes?
    2. If an employee clocked in at 6:00 am and clocked out at 6:30 pm, for a 12 hour shift, how many lunch break the employee are entitled? If they are working 12 hours shift to they need to clock out at 7:00 pm to avail the 2nd lunch break? What if the employee wanted to leave at 6:30pm and doesn’t wanted to stay additional 30 minutes to cover the additional 30 minutes lunch break? What are the options?
    3. Employees did not clock in and out for lunch due to nature of work, and no documentation to prove that they take their lunch or not, employees only verbalize and claiming that they did not take lunch that day, what are the employees and employer violation?

    FOR EXEMPT employees:

    1. Are all of these applies as well? Does Administrative duties are classified as exempt?

    Thank you.

  2. Carlos Gonzalez on April 6, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Now does this apply to working 10hr shifts 4 days a week by law do we have to take an additional lunch at the 12th hour of the work day just asking because At my job at the 12th hour they want to doc us an additional 30mins for a second lunch

    • Eugene Lee on April 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm

      Sounds like you might have an alternative work schedule agreement at your workplace. It also sounds like you might have signed a meal break waiver. You need to find out if that is the case. They can’t dock you for a lunch you didn’t take. There would be quite a few penalties for that. You should consider filing a labor board complaint.

  3. Kevin on April 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

    So what happens when I work a full 9:30-6:30 shift and I can’t take my first break because the following person comes in at 2 that’s after my fourth hour do I get a penalty paid? And if so what happens when this occurs every week and I don’t get a penalty paid for?

    • Eugene Lee on April 6, 2017 at 10:17 am

      If you mean you don’t get your first 10-min rest break until you are 4.5 hours into your shift, that’s not necessarily a violation. The rest break has to be permitted as close to the second hour as possible, but what’s possible is open for debate. If you meant your first 30-min meal break, that must begin before the end of your fifth hour. In your case, that means your lunch break must begin by 3:30 pm.

  4. Mr. Lou on April 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    If a work day is scheduled from 9am till 3pm, with a 11am break and lunch at 12.30 is another break required in that the actual hours worked are 5 1/2. Or is the 1/2 lunch our not counted in the days total hours.

    • Eugene Lee on April 5, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      You don’t count the 30 min lunch. Since you work 5.5 hours, you are entitled to only 1 rest break and 1 meal break.

  5. Anonymous on April 4, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    hello, i work in a kitchen as a dishwasher from 6pm to 10pm but im constantly being kept till 11pm or later because there’s so much work to be done (i don’t stop moving for the whole duration) my boss and manager never said anything about whether or not i could take a break- what should i do?

    • Eugene Lee on April 4, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Ask them about the break policy. I recommend doing it in writing, by text or email. They have a legal duty to make rest and meal breaks available to you.

  6. Josh on April 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I have a question, I worked for a big new company and they sent me out to Pittsburgh, PA for 2 weeks training but our office and work is in San Francisco, CA. During the 2 weeks we were working between 8 to 10 hrs a day. Some of our lunch breaks weren’t until 6 hrs or 5 and a half hours into the shift and we would get a quick bathroom break all which only happened once a day sometimes we would get 2 and they were never a full 10 mins. Coming back from my training they terminated me so for reason of downsizing. Is there anything I can do about the breaks that they failed to give me?

    • Eugene Lee on April 4, 2017 at 5:42 am

      For the 2 weeks, you will probably need to file a complaint with the Pennsylvania labor board as Pennsylvania wage and hours will likely apply. There is an argument that California labor laws apply, but the caselaw on that requires further research.

  7. Jessica Campos on March 28, 2017 at 8:31 am

    I have a question if I work from 6:45am to 5:15pm with a lunch break from 12-1 are they supposed to pay me for my full lunch because they are not giving me my scheduled lunch break on time we also don’t get any scheduled breaks. For the hours we work how many breaks are we supposed to have?

    • Anonymous on March 31, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Hi Jessica. These are the rules/laws that apply to you if you are an hourly, non-exempt employee – In order to avoid penalties, your employer should allow you to take a minimum 30-minute, unpaid, duty-free and uninterrupted meal break that should begin before the 5th hour of work. If you begin your work shift at 6:45am, you should begin your meal break by no later than 11:45am. If you begin your meal break at 12pm, you are going over the 5th hour of work and your employer must pay you a meal premium, which is equal to one hour’s pay at your hourly rate of pay. Are you allowed to take a meal break at all or are you only taking a 30-minute break instead of the one-hour break you are scheduled for?

      In regards to rest breaks – Your employer should allow you to take a paid, 10-minute rest break for every four hours you work. Based on the hours you mentioned, you should be allowed a minimum of 2 rest breaks.

    • Eugene Lee on April 4, 2017 at 5:49 am

      Meal breaks must begin before the END of the fifth hours into your shift. Because you clocked in at 6:45 am, your meal break must start before 12:45 pm, otherwise it becomes a “late lunch” violation. In your case, because lunch started at 12 pm, there would be no violation. Meal breaks are off the clock and the employer does not have to pay for them. As for rest breaks, because you worked 9.5 hours, you are supposed to receive two 10-minute rest breaks. Bathroom breaks do not count as rest breaks. Remember, in California, the employer is not required to schedule your breaks. It is your obligation to break yourself. If your circumstances prevent you from breaking yourself, you need to bring this up with your employer. If they do not remedy your situation, then that becomes a denial of your breaks. At that point, you should consider filing a labor complaint.

  8. Mitzi on March 24, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Hi. Thanks for all this information. I have a question. My fiance works for an Electrical company. He worked over 12 hours today and only got a 30 minute lunch. No breaks and no second lunch. The owner told them that if they left the site before the job was complete today, theg would be fired. Plea see tell me this is against the law . Im so upset!!!! Should we call labor and law dept?

    • Eugene Lee on March 28, 2017 at 6:38 am

      If he works in the state of california, that is very likely illegal. He should be getting a second lunch and 3 10-min paid rest breaks. He should file a complaint.

    • Eugene Lee on April 4, 2017 at 5:52 am

      If your fiance is a non-exempt hourly employee (most people are), and given he worked over 12 hours in a single day, he was entitled to TWO unpaid uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks where he is allowed to leave the job site. He is also entitled to THREE paid uninterrupted rest breaks. By threatening your fiance and telling him he can’t leave the job site for lunch, the owner has denied your fiance his meal break and has broken the law. Your fiance should consider filing a labor board complaint.

  9. Uncomfortable on March 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    If you are scheduled to start work at 9:00 am and you are scheduled to work for 6 hours, can your employer schedule your break within the first hour and then schedule your second break within the last hour of your shift?

    My company is trying to state I have to schedule my staff for a break by 10:00 am when they are scheduled to start at 9:30 am.

    • Anonymous on March 25, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      No, rule 3 says its supposed to be around the middle of work.

  10. Malou on March 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    I’m working 91/2 hours 8 hours regular and 11/2 overt time , my question is were are untitled to take 3 break and 1 lunch break? Cuz what happened is we working 9 1/2 but we have only 2 breaks and 30 minutes lunch so if our employers fallows the California break law? Thank you

    • Eugene Lee on April 4, 2017 at 5:56 am

      If you work 9.5 hours in a day, that entitles you to ONE 30-minute meal break and TWO 10-minute rest breaks. So the employer is providing the correct amount of breaks.

  11. Dan on March 17, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I work as a courier. We get a break during the day and it is all on the up and up. My question is, can my employer make me take a longer break than I want to take. I only want to take a half hour. Sometimes they tell us that we have to take an hour or more for lunch due to low volume. There is no way to make deliveries during our clocked out break. This sometimes makes it harder to get the work done in the time we are allowed.

    • Anonymous on March 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Yes your employer can make you take a longer lunch and tell you when to take it,CA law only says your lunch must be at least 30 minutes and it must be uninterrupted.

  12. Natalie on March 16, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    What about if the employer uses this State law against the employee. For example, I mistakenly taken 29 minutes meal break instead of 30 and the employer gave me a warning for not using the full 30 minutes. The employer did not pay me for that one minute and also I got interrupted while I was taking my meal break. The way I see it is that the employer is using the law to his advantage to harass its employees and even use it as an excuse to fire them.

  13. Bryan on March 15, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    so my employer is changing our break time from clock in 7am first break 10-10:15am lunch 12-12:30pm last break 2-2:10pm to clock in 7am break 10-10:15am luch 12-12:40pm we work 8 hour days, is not having a last break legal?

    • Anonymous on March 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      No, CA law states an employee gets a 10 minute paid rest break every 4 hours.

    • Eugene Lee on April 5, 2017 at 6:59 am

      No, you are supposed to receive the second 10-minute rest break. Also, it appears your employer is combining the second 10-minute rest break with the 30-minute meal break. However, breaks cannot be combined.

  14. agerm on March 11, 2017 at 7:14 am

    our company works 10 hrs shifts. start time @ 5:00 am to 3:30 pm. we get a break @ 7:30 -7:45. then we take lunch at 10:00-10:30. another break @ 12:00-12:15. with our last break @ 2:00-2:10.

    my question is that our employer doesn’t provided or post information about the option to take another lunch break should they? Also, another concern i have is that if we don’t sign and turn in our “meal wavier” our employer has stated that we wont get paid for waived lunch even though we continue working. isn’t it the duty of the supervisor to ensure everyone is taking lunch if not turning in a “meal waiver”?

    • Glenn on March 14, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      You have to work over 10 hours in a day for the second lunch to apply, but may be able to ask for one. Take note though, the company is giving you 15 minute breaks in the morning and at noon. the statute only requires them to give you 10, so in perspective, you might be able to force a second lunch, but it will be unpaid, and they can always reduce the breaks to 10 minutes instead of 15. Watch what you ask for as they are already going above and beyond on the breaks and not required to do that. Plus, they are required to give the employees a break for every 4 hours worked, yet they have given you a third break at 2pm.

    • Donna FLETCHER on March 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

      My boss has everybody once they clock in take their break withiwithin 1 to 15 of clocking for the day . What are the laws for that.

      • Overworked on April 8, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Yes, what is up with this? Been looking ALL OVER trying to find and answer to this question. Can the make you clock out for a break as soon as you start your shift? Doesn’t make any sense! Might as well just schedule me an hour/half hour later and waive the break (because total time will be 6 hours or less that way…)

        • Eugene Lee on April 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

          The California Supreme Court ruled in a case called Brinker v Sup. Ct. that there should be a rest break on either side of a meal break whenever possible. In other words, you should go on at least 1 rest break before you clock out for your first meal break. However, the Supreme Court recognized there could be exceptions such that an employer could require an employee to go on a meal break within the first hour of their shift. What those exceptions are remains unclear, unfortunately.

  15. Penny halford on March 8, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I work for a construction company 10 hrs w an hour lunch break no bathroom on site s Ok sometimes and no water provided is this on violation of labor laws?

    • Eugene D Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Sounds like a violation of health and safety standards. You should consider filing a complaint with OSHA. They are not allowed to retaliate against you for making an OSHA complaint.

      By the way, you are also supposed to be getting a 10-minute PAID rest break for every 4 hours worked. If you work 10 hours, you should actually be getting 3 rest breaks. If you work over 10 hours on the clock, you should be getting two 30-minute meal breaks.

  16. David on March 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    What about in the security Industry? Where Private Security guards are scheduled to work at a HOA property or construction site. They are being paid to be on site, per this law if the guard is to take a no duty relieve of all duty lunch, but there is a mention if the employee and the company agree to take an on duty lunch and waive their right to take a duty free lunch if the employee agrees to do this can they eventually sue for this issue down the road if they leave the company?

    • Eugene Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      Not sure i understand your question. Can you clarify a little?

    • Glenn on March 14, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      No, under the statute, certain critical jobs, ie. security guards still have to be given a lunch during their 8 hour shift and is paid by the company. in that case, the company can keep you on the site since they are paying for your lunch, if you do not want to be paid for your lunch, you need to work that out with your employer. I work in the industry and guards are paid for lunches as it would be a critical issue to allow them to leave a post for lunch thereby removing the very reason they are there. Some sites with multiple guards who can maintain coverage would be different. as long as you and the company signed the waiver for off duty meal breaks you are both ok and cannot sue them later. If you want off duty meal break however, the company can limit the sites you can work at since they require on duty meal breaks for operational concerns.

  17. Jewel on March 7, 2017 at 5:59 am

    I’m a dental hyg and don’t usually get scheduled breaks. I can take a break only if a patient cancels but many times I don’t get a planned break. Should my employer pay us for this? Also we work from 7-5:30 with lunch from 1-2. Should we be taking lunch from 12-1?

    Thank you

    • Eugene Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      If you are not able to take your breaks each day, you should bring it up to management and put the ball in their court.

      If you start at 7 am, your lunch must start no later than 12:59 pm. Yes, lunch should be starting before 1 pm.

      Breaks are a health issue! I see some young people working through their breaks, but they don’t realize that they will pay the price for that later in life if they do that regularly.

    • Anonymous on March 18, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      CA law states that you are entitled to a 10 minute paid rest break every 4 hours BUT the employee is not required to take them. Use them or lose them, just like sick and personal days.

  18. Anonymous on March 7, 2017 at 12:46 am

    I work as a resident advisor for clients in a rehab alone on a night shift. The shift is 10hr30mins, im required to stay on site at all times and if a client wakes up to talk i must be available.
    I don’t get paid that extra 30 minutes i work and they tell me i have a 30 min lunch but I’m told not to clock out. When I look at my time sheets they alter my times to read 5hr30mins and 4hr30mins as if i clocked out for a flat 10hr shift.
    I essentially can have lunch anytime after 11pm but but still, if a client wants to talk i must drop everything and deal with the issue. Am I entitled to compensation?

    • Eugene Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      Sounds like a lot of violations going on there. They especially should not be altering your clock ins and outs. You should talk with a lawyer about your situation.

      • Anonymous on March 11, 2017 at 1:41 am

        Ill do that. This has been happening since the company was created from what I’m told, I dont understand why they have not been brought to court yet.

  19. Debbie Perfetto on February 28, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    Can you work through lunch and just get an extra hour pay….?

    • Eugene Lee on March 4, 2017 at 5:21 am

      If you choose to work through lunch and your boss is aware you are working, then you should be paid for that time. However, since it is your choice you are “waiving” your lunch break. Therefore you aren’t entitled to an extra 1 hour premium for missed lunch.

  20. guest on February 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Do you have to clock out for a break (not talking about lunch break) in California??

    • pwe pew on February 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      only if you go to your car

      • guest on February 26, 2017 at 9:54 am

        by CA law can your employer make you clock out for breaks if you remain on work grounds?

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Rest breaks are supposed to be paid. The employer can make you clock out and in for rest breaks for recordkeeping purposes, as long as he’s paying you for that time while you’re on rest break. Meal breaks are different, because they are unpaid.

  21. veronika sanchez on February 21, 2017 at 10:26 am

    I always take a lunch after 3 hours of working in a 8 hour day. Is there a law that is against that.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:23 pm

      As long as you’re starting lunch before the end of the fifth hour.

  22. Guest on February 19, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    I work at a restaurant and my employer makes us take our breaks the minute we walk into work. They even made our start times 30 mins sooner to adjust for that. Can they make us take our break that early? I thought I remembered a law about not being able to take a break until the 2 hour of working mark. Am I mislead in that?

    • Anonymous on March 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

      I also work at a restaurant where our new manager insists the entire staff take a 30 minute meal break after working for only 30 minutes or sometimes less — he has stated that we should punch out a 1 minute early at 29 minutes after the hour we punched in so we can be ready at a minute before 10:59 for his 11am meeting.

      On the weekends we are required to punch in at 830am. Take a break at 9am and then clock in at 930 to work straight through until 4pm or later — depending on how many tables we have left — all of this without a break. We are lucky if we can get a bathroom break.

      Is this legal??

      • Eugene D Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:12 pm

        The law is murky on the timing of meal breaks. A supreme court case called Brinker mentions that there should usually be a rest break on either side of a meal break, but permits exceptions. What those exceptions are is unclear. That having been said, I think it’s a bad idea for employers to do this as I think it invites lawsuits.

    • Eugene Lee on March 10, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      The only clear requirement is that meal breaks must start before the end of the fifth hour into your shift. The law on early breaks is a little murky, unfortunately.

  23. Tabitha MacAlpin on February 11, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    I worked 7 hours by myself how illegal is that?

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Generally speaking, you have to be allowed to take your lunch break before the end of the fifth hour. And you’re supposed to be taking your a rest break both before and after your lunch break. You can “waive” your meal break by signing a waiver. You can also “agree” to take on-duty meal breaks, which means you work while you eat. Rest breaks, though, can’t be waived. So it’s not a simple answer.

  24. Stacey Wadsworth on February 9, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I worked 8 hrs a day for this company some days I didn’t get my 10 min break is that legal

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Not if you wanted your rest breaks and weren’t allowed to them. This assumes you are a non-exempt employee, though, and aren’t part of a union that has agreed to something different in the union agreement.

  25. Robert A Johnson on February 8, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I an employee works an 8 hour shift with a rest break after 2.5 hours and a lunch break after 5 hours, are they entitled to a second rest break with only 3 hours left to work after lunch?

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:27 pm

      A second rest break must be allowed if an employee works over 6 hours. So the answer is yes.

  26. Jason Koo on February 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I have one employee who has 7 1/2 hour shift. Am I required to give only one or two breaks? We pay based on 15 minute increaments.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Generally speaking: 2 paid 10-minute rest breaks and a 30-minute meal break. There are some industry-specific exceptions (like construction, caregiver, etc).

  27. Minde Ornelas on February 6, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I am the director of a preschool. During the children’s nap time the teachers rotate their lunch breaks, where by state staff ratio laws the number of children to staff doubles. Can I require my teachers to remain on the premises during their break time? This insures that in the even of an emergency like fire alarm, earthquake or other safety issue their are the correct amount of teachers for safety purposes in the classrooms. That means the staff must go back to the children and attend to safety concerns and/or assist them to evacuate, etc…..

  28. ashley martinez on February 6, 2017 at 1:10 am

    I work as a full-time security officer. My employer recently announced that officers can no longer leave the premises for breaks. We take one 15-20 minute long “rest break” per shift, since we waived our meal breaks/agreed to on-duty meal breaks upon being hired. I know California law states that an employer can require employees to remain on site during rest breaks but the situation that confuses me is this: if an employee has not been relieved for over 5 hours, would they legally be entitled to a 30-minute meal break in which they can leave the job site? Or does the on-duty meal break apply here as well? Thanks!

  29. Michael Tran on January 24, 2017 at 10:30 am

    is it mandatory to take a hours lunch ? My boss said I need to take a hour lunch when I only take 30min lunch . I work 8 hours on a daily.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      You have to be allowed to take a 30-minute minimum meal break. If the meal break goes over 1 hour, that might constitute a “split shift”, entitling you to a split shift premium, depending on how much over minimum wage you are paid. But yes, your employer can make you take a meal break ranging between 30 minutes and 1 hour (and possibly more depending on how much you are paid over minimum wage).

  30. Sam on January 24, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I work P/T and usually work fro 4:30 and get off at 10pm,lately my schedules have been “adjusted to close at 10 pm one day and open the next day at 6am,is there such a law that states a minimum of “rest hours” before starting the next shift ?

    • tentoes on February 16, 2017 at 10:20 am

      Typically it’s 8 hours of rest between shifts… but that doesn’t count the time it takes to get home, go to bed, wake-up, shower and drive back in to work… :/

  31. Tired on January 23, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    As an exempt employee, can an organization/company force you to work through your lunch and give you no other breaks? It seems the answer is yes, but I thought I’d check.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      If you are exempt, then in most cases you aren’t entitled to meal or rest breaks. It really depends on what the specific exemption is, though. With some exemptions, you are still required to be given breaks.

  32. Sarah on January 23, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Today at work, I was scheduled to work 8 am to 3 pm. I had been at work for almost 2 hours already when I looked at the schedule and I noticed that I was only given a 30 minute lunch at 11 am. No 10-15 minute breaks were scheduled for me like they used to do. I called my supervisor and asked her why I didn’t have any 10-15 minute breaks scheduled? Because I was really hungry and needed to eat. Why did I only have a lunch at 11 am? That would mean I would work for 3 hours, have a 30 minute lunch at 11am, then work for another 3 1/2 hours, totaling up to 6 1/2 hours by the end of the day. I asked her if I could have a break at 10 am and a 30 minute lunch at 12 pm instead, because I was really hungry. She said my boss is changing the schedule and doing it this way now. Is this illegal? Did she lie to me? She said she would bring me a food bar and at 10 am, and I could take a break when our other coworker came in, but that was only because I asked her for it and that they weren’t going to schedule breaks for me or anyone else anymore, only a 30 minute meal period. Does it matter that my shift was split by a 30 minute lunch like that or does it matter more that my total hours for today were 6 1/2? 3 hours, 30 minute lunch, then 3 1/2 hours. That’s 6 1/2 total hours worked Am I actually entitled to a 10-15 minute rest period as well? It just still doesn’t seem fair or right to make me work a 6 1/2 hour day without both a 30 minute meal break and a 10-15 rest period. Am I right? Did my supervisor try to cheat me out of a break I’m entitled to or am I wrong? Please help!! Thank you.

  33. don on January 20, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I worked at a hotel started at 630am had hr lunch 11-1200 then off at 230pm
    I was told I should have had another 10 minute BREAk ?

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      Since your shift is over 6 hours, yes, you’re supposed to get a second 10-minute rest break. Rest breaks cannot be waived, either.

  34. Dario on January 19, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    For the past year I’ve been working at a restaurant as a cook it has a tendency to be full at times.There I’ve worked 7-8 hours a day 6 days a week without a break in-between. I work from the afternoon to the bight. In the afternoon there’s only two cooks and it gets overwhelming full so much so that if you were to take your brake you would only leave one cook and he wouldn’t be able to do it himself. And in the night time There’s 4 cooks again if one of the cooks were to take their brake the other 3 wouldn’t be able to do it themselves. They use this as justification for not giving me breaks. Now I now this is illegal how can I even begin to file a wage claim?

  35. don on January 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    my issue is I worked at a hotel for a year I started at 630am ended 230pm
    lunch break was 11am to 1200. did not get any more breaKS my understanding is this was illegal because I should have gotten anothef 10 or fifteen minute break cab someone respond please/

    • Ana G. Monico on February 25, 2017 at 9:21 am

      You are entitled to 2 minute breaks and a 30 minute break. First 10-15 minute between 8-8:30am, lunch at the 5th hr. between 11-11:30 and the second 10-15 minute between 1-1:30pm. That’s how’s done if you follow the labor laws.

  36. anon on January 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I worked with a company that didnt pay me my training pay and my last day i worked ontime am i entitled to that 15% interest on my wages

  37. Jacqueline on January 19, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I own a staffing agency and have an employee that works off-site. She is a RN and she works a 8 hour day, 7am-4pm, she usually take her one hour lunch break at 2:30pm. is that legal? Must she take her lunch break by 12pm? Thanks.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      She is supposed to be taking her meal break before the end of the fifth hour into her shift. So that might be a problem. Most nurses are non-exempt, too.

  38. Ivan on January 17, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I work from 6am to 2:30pm and they give us a 50 min lunch till 12 is that legal

    • WorkForceBabysitter on January 18, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      You should not have your two paid breaks combined with your unpaid lunch, if that is the situation. You should receive the breaks as close to the middle of each 4 hours as is possible, based on work flow needs. Ideally you would have a 10min around 8 am, 30 min lunch about 10, and another 10 min break about 12pm. I don’t believe it is directly illegal, depending on the nature of the work, as long as you are being paid for 20 minutes of the lunch break.

    • Donald Jones on February 22, 2017 at 5:17 am

      Hi I work 10-hour days 4 days a week my schedule is 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and I get a 10 minute break then my lunch is at 12- 12 :30 and I go home at 3:30 that’s seven hours until my lunch what should I do or can I do anything

  39. Rachel on January 17, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    i work from 8:30am to 5:30pm with one hour break, but sometimes i have to leave early at work and so i take my 30min break 12:30-1:00 instead of 12:30-1:30. i clock back in to work and clock out 5:00pm. Is this legal?

  40. nope on January 17, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Can employer force you to take lunch away from desk? I like to use my work computer while I eat but employer is trying to say we have to leave our desks during lunch now.

    • WorkForceBabysitter on January 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Your employer has a right to require you to leave the work area during meals. This can be for security purposes by limiting unnecessary access to sensitive material, discouraging personal use of company equipment, and to protect company assets by limiting their exposure to spilled foods and drinks.

  41. nope on January 17, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Can my employer force me to not eat lunch at my desk? We have a lunch room but it is always croweded so I eat at my desk. They are now saying we cannot do that.

    • Eugene Lee on March 5, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Yes, the employer can do that. What they can’t do is the opposite: force you to eat at your desk unless you’ve agreed to an on-duty meal break or signed a meal break waiver.

  42. LivingOnAPrayer on January 14, 2017 at 4:01 am

    I’m a college student working fast food and I primarily work graveyard shift. My employer only has 1 other person on average with me and it’s impossible to take any breaks. I work 10:15pm-6:00am when my co-workers actually show up on time, but most days I’m here until 6:30am with no breaks. Is this legal?

    • Kim on January 17, 2017 at 9:31 am

      no this is not legal. if you are working 6.25 hours or more – you are required to take a meal break.

  43. Andrea on January 10, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    What if an hourly employee works 7.5 hours – 9:30am to 6pm. Gets one 15min break at noon and lunch at 230pm.and no break in afternoon. Is the employee enititled to second break in the afternoon?

  44. Joe Drake on January 9, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    My employer regularly gives me my lunch around 1- 12 hours after I clock in for an 8 hour shift. They do this to prevent lunch violations/penalties, but what about all that time on the back half of my shift? If I work from 1- 10, and take a 30 minute lunch from 2- 230, I have 7.5 hours without a lunch. Is this legal? Do they owe me lunch premium?

  45. Daniel Garcia on January 8, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    I work 8hrs a day from 7am-3pm and I dont get lunch nor break. What can I do? Is this illegal?

    Note: My company wanted me to sign a policy about my breaks but they gave it to me about 2 weeks ago and I have been working for them 2 years now why would they give me this notice after 2 years of work…??

    Thank you

    • Jim Reed on January 16, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      They are asking you to waive your breaks. If you sign the policy letter, it means that you agree not to take a break during your work period, which is legal. The same applies to your lunch break. I think you should contact the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. Your company has been in violation of California Labor Laws for at least the 2 years you have worked for them. The fact that your company asked you to sign a release indicates that they are knowingly violating California Labor Law. As I understand the labor laws require that you be compensated one hour of pay for each day a violation occurred. An Attorney could advise you better, but I think you might be entitled to $5000 compensation or more.

      • Kay on January 19, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        In California regardless of when you signed the waiver, the law would still be on your side for all meal breaks missed in the last 2 years. If you file a wage claim they will have to pay you an hour (paid at your hourly rate) for every violation and they cannot retaliate against you for this, you can proceed even further if you face any retaliation. I work in HR and have have combed through a few of these claims.

  46. Tevis Cossell on January 7, 2017 at 3:35 am

    I work 6am to 5pm. First break at 915, lunch at 1115 to 1145 and our last break is at 130. I believe we should get another break before we clock out before 5pm correct. Please help us out. We are tired of this crap at work.

    • eric on January 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      Yes Tevis, they are shorting you one break if you are working 12+ hours everyday. We get a break every 2.5 hours from our clock in time. So in your case, your break schedule should be as follows:
      First – 8:30am
      Lunch – 11am
      Second – 1:30pm
      Third – 4pm
      2nd Lunch – 6:30pm (if necessary)
      Hope this helps…

  47. Greg Diaz on January 6, 2017 at 8:15 am

    I was denied my two 10 minutes breaks and was only given my 30 minute break in a 8 hours working day. What should I do?

  48. Fabiola Sanchez-Sandoval on January 4, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    I work 10am-7pm. I get my lunch at 1:30pm and my 10min break at 4:30pm. Should I be getting one more break?

    • Jim Reed on January 16, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Yes you should. Google “California Rest Breaks Law”. If this has been going on for some time, then you should contact the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement. As I understand the Law you are entitled to one hour of compensation at your current rate of pay for each day that the violation occurred. The catch is that you need to document each violation.

  49. Fabiola Sanchez-Sandoval on January 4, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    I want to know if I am giving my employees the right amount of breaks. They work from 10am-7pm. We give them a lunch break between 1-1:30 and 10min break at 4:30.

  50. Daniel on January 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Just curious about the 10 minute rest periods we have. We work 10 hours a day and get 2 -10 minute rest periods and one 30 meal break. What’s bothering me is that they added a bell to go off at 8 mins on the rest period to be back in our work spot by 10 minute bell. To me that’s unfair if you need to make some food or go get some coffee which take at least 2 minutes. Then you get if your lucky 6 minutes of rest and have to be back to your area by the 10 minute bell. Is this legal?

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