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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. Sue on June 13, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    My daughter works for a fast food restaurant. When they have been busy and there is no time for a 10 minute break they make her wait 10 minutes after the end of her shift to clock out. Is the within guidelines of working 5-6 hours

    • Eugene Lee on June 13, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Rest breaks are supposed to be taken as close to the middle of each 4 hour work period as possible. I’d say your daughter’s employer is violating the policy. The purpose of the rest break is too ensure employers aren’t putting too many demands on an employee for too long a period. It’s a health issue. The resulting health problems may not show up right away, but over time, employees who are subjected to too many demands without enough rest breaks start suffering from illness and disability over the long term.

  2. Shawn on June 13, 2017 at 12:24 am

    I work in a restaurant and every shift I work I’m told to clock out immediately after clocking in for my half hour break to “get it out of the way”. I work as example from 4:30 to 10:00 and my break is from 4:35 to 5:05. No 10 minutes are offered since there’s “so much cleaning up to do, etc.”…. and this is a franchised restaurant from a big corporate chain.

  3. Anonymous on June 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I work in the oil and gas industry in California, the company I work for has stay on location weeks at a time. We can’t leave and they pay us 18 hours a day for the 24 where there. They say they take 6 hours for sleep and meals. Is this legal?

  4. Roy M on June 11, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    My boss allows me appropriate 10 minute rest breaks, but does not allow me to eat during them. I work a 6 hour shift and have been required to sign a waiver not allowing me any meal breaks, so I can’t eat for 6 consecutive hours. Is this legal?

    • Eugene Lee on June 11, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Yes, it is. That is because you signed a meal break waiver giving up your meal break (so long as you don’t work more than 6 hours). You do have the right to “retract” that waiver, but you must do so in writing.

  5. Anon Anon on June 8, 2017 at 3:05 am

    What are the requirements for 10 hour shifts break wise and at what point is the company required to provide a second 30 minute lunch break?

    • Eugene Lee on June 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      1. If you work 10 hours, you are entitled to 2, arguably 3, 10-minute rest breaks, and 1 30-minute meal break. If you work OVER 10 hours, then it’s definitely 3 10-minute rest breaks and 2 30-minute meal breaks.
      2. The second lunch break must start BEFORE the start of the twelfth hour of your shift.

      • Anon Anon on June 9, 2017 at 2:26 am

        Thank you. Do you know the state code for this?

  6. Nathan on June 7, 2017 at 11:31 pm

    I work at a printing company, I work 6 pm to 6 am and I only get one lunch and no breaks! Im pretty sure it’s illegal…what are your guy’s opinion on this?

    • Eugene Lee on June 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm

      Illegal – if you work 12 hours, you should be getting three 10-minute rest breaks and two 30-minute meal breaks. Unless you signed a meal break waiver, which changes things. However, rest breaks cannot be waived.

  7. R O on June 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Hi,
    My company provides me with (5 days) paid time off, but now that I have requested to take my 5 days off for a personal matter they have forbid me to take the time off because apparently “no one can take time off during June, July and August”. They said that the only reason why I can take the days off is if I leave as a “leave of absence”. Is this legal?

  8. Anonymous on June 6, 2017 at 9:53 am

    I work from 7:00am to 3:30pm, my first break starts at 10:00am-10:15am, my lunch time is at 12:00pm-12:30pm and my last break is at 2:00pm-2:15pm. Is it permissible for our group to take one break during the day. That would be a lunch for an hour instead of a half hour + (2) 15 minute breaks? Can my boss make that change?

    • rooneyboyz on June 10, 2017 at 6:45 pm

      Your 1 hour lunch is unpaid, the (2) 15 minute breaks are paid. They can make you take a longer (1 hour) break but cannot take away the 2 rest periods.

      • Alexus on June 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm

        I work from 11:15am to 7pm.
        What breaks am I entitled too?
        I get a 45 min break and one 15…

        • Eugene Lee on June 13, 2017 at 8:28 pm

          Since you are working 7 hours on the clock, you are entitled to ONE 30-minute meal break (a 45-minute meal break is fine), and TWO separate 10-minute rest breaks (one 15-minute break doesn’t cut it). I’d say that your getting one 10-minute rest break less than you should be.

  9. A S on June 5, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    If i work 6 hrs and 45 minutes. How many breaks am i entitled to?

    • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm

      One 30-minute unpaid, uninterrupted meal break where you are allowed to go where you want and do what you want

      Two 10-minute paid, uninterrupted rest breaks, where the employer may require you to stay at the job site.

      • ali malik on June 11, 2017 at 10:43 pm

        Sir can my manager make us work during our 10 minutes rest breaks? My boss calls me to help clients when I am in the middle of taking my break.

        • Eugene Lee on June 12, 2017 at 8:10 am

          No, the rest break must be uninterrupted. Otherwise, that is an unlawful rest break violation.

          • ali malik on June 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm

            One more question. My employers make me take Captive Lunch, I have to be on the premises and can not leave, but they pay an hour extra pay for the captive lunch. But they also make me work during that captive lunch while i am on lunch break. They are saying that they are paying for my lunch time that’s why I have to work during my lunch hour too. They are paying me for not leaving the premises becasue i can not leave the other employee alone. I work for a bank. Any suggestions?

            • Eugene Lee on June 13, 2017 at 8:31 pm

              If you are required to stay on premises for lunch and have to work through it, you are entitled to be paid one hour (since you are after all working) PLUS another hour premium for missing your meal break. However, you need to check whether or not you signed a meal break waiver (giving up your meal break so long as you don’t work more than 6 hours) or an on-duty meal consent (where you agree to continue working while you eat).

  10. question on June 5, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    OK my question is I work 8 hours with one hour lunch and two breaks beginning of shift and end… Well what I wanted to ask is can I take two half hour lunches instead of taking one hour lunch.. I just wanted to know..

    • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:18 pm

      If you work 8 hours, the most you are entitled to is one 30-minute meal break and two 10-minute rest breaks. The employer may choose to increase your meal break from 30 minutes to 1 hour. However, there is no legal requirement that he permit you to split the 1-hour meal break into two separate meal breaks, since the most you’re entitled is just one meal break.

  11. Marisol on June 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    My boss is not following with the law like today I came in at 9:30 am and I’m just taking my meal break now it’s 3:00 pm and I had to leave the place because if people started to come in my boss will interrupt my meal break and make me work again he’s been doing that a lot lately who can I call so someone could come and talk to him this is not right

    • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm

      If your boss is interrupting your meal break, that is illegal. You should consider leaving the workplace during your meal breaks, as that is your right. If the problem continues, you have two options: 1) File a wage claim so that meal break penalties can be paid to you personally, or 2) make an anonymous complaint to the labor board’s Bureau of Field Enforcement; they may send an investigator to your job site and if they find violations, they’ll issue citations to your employer and could even shut down his operations.

  12. tony on June 2, 2017 at 12:38 am

    If you work from 9 to 8 pm and only take a 30 min lunch do you get 30 minutes of premium pay or how does that work

    • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm

      Since you worked 10.5 hours (11 hours minus the 30 minute lunch), you were entitled to a second 30-minute meal break. If you did NOT get that second meal break (and that’s what it sounds like), then you are entitled to ONE hour of pay as a meal break premium/penalty. If you were forced to clock out for a second meal break that you actually had to work through, then you would be entitled to be paid for that time worked PLUS an additional penalty called a liquidated damages penalty.

  13. colin on June 1, 2017 at 12:48 am

    If I start work at 10:30pm (Overnight), can my employer make me take my lunch at 11:00pm before the PM agent leaves. Is there a rule or law about when I have to take my lunch? Thanks

  14. Lori Walker-Vidales on May 31, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I have worked in a small dental office for 17 years. My hours have always been from 7:15am,lunch from 12:30-1:45, end of work day 5:00pm. I am not given any breaks. 3 months ago my employer had me sign a statement saying I would not work over 5 hours without a lunch break. However, for the past 17 years I have been working 15 minutes over the 5 hours. Was this noncompliant with Ca law? Also, since I’m in health care, am I not entitled to a 10 minute break?

  15. Miguel on May 30, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    If working an 8hr shift I know I’m entitled to 3 breaks two resting breaks and a lunch break but if working overtime total of 10hrs am I entitled to a 3rd last break?

  16. Lynn on May 30, 2017 at 10:48 am

    what happens if you only take a 20 min lunch

  17. Maira on May 29, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Hi I have a question I been working for This gas station over 6 yrs my co workers and I never did we get lunch breaks, until the beginning of this year 2017 we receive a form regarding meal breaks that the company was going to start paying us 1 hr extra for us not taking lunch we sign the paper, next thing we see in our paycheck was 10 hrs of penalty pay for working our 80 hrs, so my question is is it to late for me to do something for the unpaid lunch break for the past 6 yrs?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      it seems based on the information above, if you live and work in California, you would be entitled to 3 years worth of missed lunches, at 1 hour of pay each. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  18. Casey Dietz on May 28, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    If im working retail and my shift is from 12pm to 5:30pm am i entitled to a meal break?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:41 pm

      You would be entitled to a 10 min rest break, paid. for your lunch break you would have to ask for it, but based on the information above they would be required to provide a meal break if asked. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

      • Casey Dietz on May 31, 2017 at 12:58 am

        in your non-professional opinion, would they be required to give me the 10 min. break as well as the meal break?

    • Scott on June 1, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      No on california you can work upto 6 hours without a meal break as long as you clock out before the 6th hour

      • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:29 pm

        That is true ONLY IF the employee signed a meal break waiver, giving up their meal break.

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 3:47 am

      You are entitled to a 10 minute rest period within the first four hours of your shift, preferably in the middle around 2pm. Because you work over 5 hours, you are entitled to a 30 minute meal break prior to 5pm.

    • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      Since you are working 5.5 hours, you ARE entitled to one 30-minute unpaid meal break. You are also entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break. If you signed a meal break waiver, then you would NOT be entitled to the meal break, but you would still be entitled to the rest break. Rest breaks can not be waived.

  19. Anonymous on May 25, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Does the paid breaks law cover workers who say they want to be paid cash and give no other option?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      if you are doing your work legally, yes. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  20. T on May 19, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Are you entitled to stay at your job location on a 30 min break?
    I was suspended or a week in Feb. and not in writing because I left my job and came back. During that time my work place was busy, but that shouldn’t be my concern if I am on break, correct?

    • SomeGuy on May 28, 2017 at 1:14 am

      They can require you to stay there for your 10 minute breaks but not for your lunch, they are also not allowed to have you do any work at all in any way during your lunch break.

      • Eugene Lee on June 5, 2017 at 10:35 pm

        SomeGuy is right. Plus, they can’t have you do any work at all in any way during your rest break, too.

    • Jenelle Brown on May 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Correct you get to leave on 30 not on 10

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 3:55 am

      Rest and Meal breaks are duty free and cannot be dictated by the employer. They cannot dictate what you do or where you go for your 10 or 30 minute break.
      California Supreme Court decision in Augustus v.​ ABM Security Services, Inc says that employers must relieve employees of all duties.

  21. Anonymous on May 18, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I work from 6:30 am to 11 00pm in a skilled health care facility what am I entitled to have

  22. Anonymous on May 17, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    Can my employer talk to me about work during my breaks and lunch periods? I understand maybe the breaks because they are paid but my lunch is unpaid. If I were to leave they can’t call me and talk about work so what’s the difference if I spend my unpaid lunch time in the break room?

    • Jenelle Brown on May 30, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      They can have u stay but must still pay you for that 30 but u are still taking it with pay

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      based on the information above they can not make you work during any of your breaks, paid or otherwise. also during your unpaid break you can not be required to say on the premises unless they are paying you, which gets into odd territory, in which you should see a professional opinion. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  23. David on May 16, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    What about in the security Industry? Where Private Security guards are scheduled to work at a HOA property or construction site. Can the security company and the security guard agree to take an on duty paid lunch with a waiver?

    • Anonymous on May 18, 2017 at 10:24 am

      For the Security Industry most companies require you to take your lunch at your work site, to not leave and be available to respond to any incidents should they occur. You still get a 30 minute break. If 10 minutes into your lunch break you are interrupted and you go respond to an incident, when your work is completed you resume the remaining 20 mins of your break. In exchange for this the security companies have to pay you for your lunch time.

  24. Anonymous on May 15, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I work from 2-10 which is 8 hours but technically 7 hours and 30 minutes, but between that 7 hours and 30 minutes am I entitled to have a rest break.

    • Eugene Lee on May 15, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Yes, not just one, but TWO 10-minute rest breaks.

    • Lauren on May 18, 2017 at 10:26 am

      You are entitled to TWO 10 minute breaks and ONE 30 minute lunch. Which you work for 8 hours but get paid for 7.5 hours due to the unpaid lunch.

  25. Crystal on May 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

    The clinic I work for recently decided to stay open during our hour lunch break. this is fine on days where there is another nurse on staff with me, but every Monday i’m by myself. I have to work 8 hour straight. I do take a 15 min break but I don’t clock out for lunch and he suggested on those days I end my day earlier but will still be paid the full eight hours. Is this legal?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      you are entitled to 2 10 min paid breaks and a 30 min lunch, for each missed break and lunch they are required to pay you an extra hour. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct. In your case I would seek a professional opinion.

  26. Sherri on May 5, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I just started a new job. Twice this last week I worked over my 5 hour shift. One time by 1 minute and the other by 9 minutes. Both times I was told by the employer to clock out, take a 30 minute lunch break clock back in then immediately clock back out and go home. This doesn’t seem right. Neither time was I scheduled more than a six hour day. I had to stay at work an extra 30 min unpaid because I went over my 5 hour shift by a few minutes. Is this correct ? Can the employer do this ? Can’t I just clock out and go home without talking a 30 minute break ?

    • Adolfo Chapa on May 17, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      This is illegal. Your boss is forcing you to take a lunch because they failed to send you home at the appropriate time slot of 5 hours. You need to speak with your HR rep. If it’s a small company with no HR representation then you need to contact your county’s labor commission.

    • Lauren on May 18, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Over 5 hours they only need to send you on a last 10 minute break. And that can be waived. What they are doing is illegal and wrong. If its 6 hours it is either 2 10 minute breaks OR 1 10 minute break and 1 30 minute lunch. There is no need for them to send you on a lunch for a few minutes over 5 hours.

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      in this case it would seem you are not required to stay those 30 min, if both you and your employer agree to wave the 30 min unpaid lunch as long as you work under 6 hours. you should also get a paid 10 min break. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:01 am

      Never are you to work extra hours without pay if you are a non-exempt employee. Because you went over the 5 hour mark without a meal period, your employer must pay you additional hour for that shift ( 6hrs). Also, if you didn’t get a 10 min rest period you are entitled to an additional hour for that as well.

  27. Drei on May 4, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Is it illegal if my supervisor forces me to take a break 23 minutes before my 10th hour? Arent they suppossed to let us know to do it after our 8th hour?

  28. Anonymous on May 3, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    I work for a security company and they have changed our post orders five different times and now since I have tent on my windows they sent out a text messages saying a new rule has been added , which is requiring us to stand now outside of our cars during a 12hr shift is that legal to add a new rule without creating new post orders?

  29. Anonymous on May 1, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I work in a golf course and I start at 6 am and get no breaks or lunch until 12pm is that legal

    • Anonymous on May 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

      No, that breaks 2 major laws. Contact the Department of Labor.

      • brian c on May 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm

        No, don’t “contact the department of labor”!
        Common sense says that you should either clock out at 11:59, or discuss/request from your employer the unpaid 30-minute break to which the law entitles you. Personally, I would prefer to clock out before my 6 hours is up. Who wants to hang around another 1/2 hour if you don’t have to?
        But geez, please leave the Department of Labor out of this. Small wonder we’re in the state we are, with advice like the above…

        • Adolfo Chapa on May 17, 2017 at 5:39 pm

          They said no break or lunch break was provided until the 6th hour…that’s not saying their shift is only 6 hours, and even if it was the law requires employers to provide at least one 10 minute break.

          • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:07 am

            I agree with brian c “no dept labor” that’s silly. You are entitled to a 10 min rest period duty free and a 30 minute lunch period.

        • Raul on May 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

          Hola yo soy latino y trabajo 11 horas al día o más
          A mi me gustaría saber cuántos breaka y lonchas tiene uno que entra a las 8am y sale a las 7:40pm

          • Alejandra on June 2, 2017 at 8:35 pm

            Si trabajas más de 10 horas en la día te necesitan a dar te una hora total de tu lonche. Te pueden a dar dos lonches de 30 minutos o los 60 minutos en una lonche. También tienen que si no quieres a tomar dos de 30 minutos, no necesitas pero si tu quieres a tomar los dos qué te lo necesitan a dar legalmente.

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      no, every 4 hours you are entitled to 1 break, usually near the middle of the 4 hours, and after 6 hours you get a unpaid 30. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  30. Anonymous on April 29, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    I work from 7:00am to approximately 4:00pm

    Every shift I’m required to come in at 7:00am and go on meal break from 7:00am- 7:30am. This is the one and only meal break I have and I never allowed to take a 10 minute rest either.

    Is my employer allowed to force me to come into work and take a break before I start?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      the lunch break at the start of your shift is a little odd, but if you both agree to it I personally would not make a big deal. The problem on their end though is that every 4 hours you are entitled to a paid rest break, which in this case would be 2. every time they do not provide a rest break they are required to pay you the equivalent of 1 hour pay. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct. in your case, you should contact your local department of labor.

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:13 am

      They can give you a break when you clock in, but they are only shooting themselves in the foot. The law is based on hours worked not hours scheduled. If you come in at 7am and they put you on break until 7:30am, they would still owe you a 10 min duty free paid rest period in the am, a meal break of 30 mins unpaid and an afternoon 10 min rest period. They are out of compliance
      agree with Killacan. Each day they do this, they actually owe you an extra hour at your pay rate for each violation.

  31. Jay on April 28, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    For a school, based out of Kansas with satellite campuses throughout the US, including California; do the employees of this organization fall under the California statutes? And as far as what happens in the healthcare field, since the school is healthcare based, what happens then?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      only if you work in California would they be required to follow California law. for your other question I don’t know. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  32. John vue on April 26, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    I work an 8 hr shift and i get 3 breaks, 2 breaks and 1 lunch. My gf does also but she will only have 1 break and 1 lunch. Her other employees on the other hand does not because they have 2 break and 1 lunch. What i am asking is, is this complying with ca labor rights?

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:14 am

      Is she an exempt employee?

  33. Keisha Calhoun on April 25, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Can your company ask you to take a more than a 2 hour break to wait and see if there will be more work.

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      no, if they are not paying you, they can not keep you there. contact your local labor department. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  34. Mmm on April 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Meal break between what time..??? Between 4th and 6th hour. Or does it have to be completed by the 6th hour… California law?? And where does it state the information??

    • Adolfo Chapa on May 17, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Your lunch break needs to be taken BEFORE you start your 5th hour. Our time clocks are set up to the second and if we go past that 5th hour before clocking out for lunch the company can get in trouble, so they’re on us about taking them on time.

      • Adolfo Chapa on May 17, 2017 at 5:46 pm

        Sorry….i meant before you start you 6th hour…before your 5th hour is complete you must clock out for lunch

  35. Tom H on April 16, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Im a small business owner with only 4 employees. Most of the shift the employees are in company owned vehicles servicing equipment at customer locations or traveling to/from those locations. How should we be handling the meal and 10 minute rest break? Obviously hard scheduling a 10min break might not work if they are cruising up highway 5 at the time they are suppose to take a break (same with lunch). What about the lunch break and allowing them to take it off site? Do we need to allow them to take a company vehicle to go get lunch when they are at a customers location? Can we have a policy that they are not allowed to drive more than X miles off the scheduled route for personal business?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:07 pm

      seek a professional opinion or contact your local labor department for this one, its tricky.

  36. Natalia on April 16, 2017 at 9:20 am

    I work at a gas station and last year in 2016 I signed a contract saying that we work straight time with no breaks or lunch. It is now 2017 I have not signed a new contract and there are some days where I work eight hours and 10 hours shifts and I’m not giving one single break or lunch is that legal can they do that is my contract from last year void?

    • Anonymous on April 24, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Working at a gas station and you need a break?

      • Crystal on May 7, 2017 at 7:09 am

        She’s entitled to a break. It makes no difference that she works at a gas station. It’s the law.

        • Joe the Realist on May 17, 2017 at 1:05 pm

          Oh come on. Working at a gas station probably entails more sitting than anything else. Besides, the law says:
          “On-duty meal periods are only legal if:
          The nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty.”
          Certainly sounds like this fits if she is the only employee on the clock. What do you want her employers to do, close the business for a half hour???
          Please, have some common sense, people.

          • Anon on May 19, 2017 at 12:03 am

            I work graveyard at a gas station, law states that you are entitled to two 10 minute breaks and at the very least a paid working lunch. To those saying its just a gas station, I dare you to come work beside me. You will leave fatigued at the very least. P.s. We can only sit on our breaks.

        • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:20 am

          Crystal is correct. Waiving breaks has to be a mutual agreement. I would think there is a serious question as to whether their is a legal conflict with the actual contract. If you are having issues I would seek legal counsel. There are a lot of different things at play here. Although I totally understand where Joe the Realist is coming from and don’t necessarily disagree, the state has a law that is not employer friendly when it comes to meals and breaks. If you notice in malls and shopping centers where you see Kiosk businesses that they will post ” Will return at 12:30″ for this very reason. Its more cost effective during that time of day, particularly during the week to close for 30 mins, rather than hire an additional employee for a slow period. Not as common of an occurrence on the weekends.

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      if the contract did not have an expiration then I see no reason they need to be required to renew the contract. if unsure contact your local labor department. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  37. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    At what time is my second meal break required? I have signed waver for second meal break. I start at 12pm and usually off before 12am. There have been times when I would get off anywhere between 12am and 1am. My question is at what time must I take a second meal break? At 12am(12hrs from my start time), OR 1230am (12 hrs of actual time worked)

    • Anonymous on April 25, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Before the end of the fifth and befor the tten and a half hor worked.

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      based on the information above it would be 12 hours from your start time. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

  38. Anonymous on April 14, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I start my shift at 12pm and typically work until 12am (11.5 paid). There are times when I finish my shift between 12am to 1am. My question is at what time am I required to take my second meal break. I have signed

    • Adolfo Chapa on May 17, 2017 at 5:53 pm

      The 2nd meal break must be taken before you begin your 11th hour of work. So if you start at 12pm, and you have alreadt taken your first half hour meal break, you must take your 2nd meal break no later than 11:29. Because at 11:30 it will be 11 hours worked. If you do not take it by then, your employer must either let you go by 12:30 (12 hours) or if you still go over the 12 hour mark even by a minute, your employer is required to pay you an extra FULL hours pay for the violation.

  39. Melanie Garcia on April 14, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I am a registered dental assistant and have been in the field for 12+ years . i have never been given breaks . Usually an hour lunch but not always . Is that to make up for the lack of breaks?

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:22 am

      Are you an exempt employee?

  40. LV Tyler on April 14, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Does a 9 hour shift deserve a 2 hour lunch break?

    • Eugene Lee on April 14, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      No – it entitles you to ONE 30-minute off-the-clock, unpaid, uninterrupted meal break where you are permitted to leave the office and go where you want.
      If you are on the clock for over 10 hours, you get a second 30-minute meal break.

  41. Anonymous on April 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I work from 8am to 2:30pm. Work didn’t schedule me for lunch and usually. I’m an hourly paid employee. Is this legal for me to work straight through past 6 hours with no lunch…even though i would like to have a lunch? Also, if the lunch have to work past the 6 hours with no lunch, is it the employers responsibility to at least provide lunch? Thanks so much!

    • Eugene Lee on April 13, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      If you work over 5 hours, you must be allowed to take a meal break if you want to. The meal break can be unpaid, but it must be uninterrupted and you must be allowed to go where you want and do you what you want with those 30 minutes.

      If you are forced to work through lunch, you should make sure you bring it up to the attention of your supervisors. Also, make sure you do it in writing, by text or email.

      There is no requirement that the employer provide food or pay for food. However, if you are denied a meal break, not only must you be paid through lunch, you are entitled to an additional 1 hour of pay for each day your meal break was denied.

  42. John Doe on April 13, 2017 at 10:58 am

    I work as a secretary in an office from 8-430 Monday – Friday. I have never been asked to sign a single document regarding my employment; We don’t even have a company handbook or policy manual. I’m told every day to “take my lunch” but during my lunch I am expected to answer incoming phone calls and help people that walk in, or do anything else the boss wants The boss always leaves the premises for lunch but calls me sometimes 4-5 times during my “lunch” and tells me to perform certain tasks they need done immediately. I don’t know if I’m an exempt employee or not, so I don’t know what laws may or may not be being violated by my employer. Can you please help me figure this out?

    • killacan on May 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      if you are paid during your lunch, it could be an on-duty lunch, in which case the laws are different, get a professional opinion. bear in mind this is not a professional opinion, and that I am not responsible to any action taken because of the opinion I have provided and it assumes the information above is correct.

    • BMullins on June 2, 2017 at 4:25 am

      If you’re having issues you can certainly seek legal advice. Eugene is spot on. However, non-exempt Secretaries do not typically in the category for the exception of on-duty lunches and its not really a good idea for the employer to have this as a practice. If you are a non-exempt employee and work 8 – 4:30 each day, you are entitled to (2) uninterrupted rest breaks at 10 mins each (paid) and a 30 min lunch unpaid meal break.

  43. Margaret on April 12, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Can I add my two rest breaks on to my lunch break so that I get one long break of 50 minutes (30 minutes unpaid, and 20 minutes paid)? This would not be a daily occurrence, just once in a while.

    • Eugene Lee on April 12, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Yes, if your employer doesn’t object. The employer has the right to set the break policy. Employees must follow that policy, so long as the policy complies with the law.

  44. meghan on April 12, 2017 at 11:30 am

    We work at a 24/7 veterinary hospital. Many times we cannot take our meal breaks before the 6th hour. We take them and make sure that they can be provided, just not always by that time. Is this OK?

    • Eugene Lee on April 12, 2017 at 11:34 am

      That depends on who’s responsible for the late lunching violation. If the employees simply aren’t breaking themselves before the start of the sixth hour, there’s no violation. In fact, some employers will even write the employee up for breaking themselves late. However, if the employer is piling too much work on, setting unreasonable deadlines, or ignoring complaints or requests about late lunching, then the employer is on the hook for the late lunching violation. If the latter is the case, consider filing a labor complaint.

      • meghan on April 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        Thank you for your reply!

  45. Miu on April 11, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I work from 7:30-4:30 in the afternoon. We do have a lunch break but we are still required to work while having our lunch. Also we don’t have even a single rest break (morning and afternoon). This isn’t right, right ?

    • Eugene Lee on April 12, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Employees can consent to on-duty meal breaks where the nature of the job requires it. The question is: did you consent to it? And do you do the type of work where an on-duty meal break is necessary? An example would be a security guard who is at a sentry post by himself.

      As for rest breaks, they can never be waived. Since you work a 9 hour shift, you are entitled to two 10-minute uninterrupted on-the-clock rest breaks. If you’re not getting them and you want them, you should bring it up to your employer. Make sure you do it in writing – by text or email, for example. If the employer doesn’t fix the problem, then consider filing a labor complaint.

  46. Anonymous on April 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Not fair…not right…get your break after 2 hrs…then BE SURE to take 30 min lunch & then later in day take another 10 min break!
    ?????????

  47. Anonymous on April 10, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    I work a 7am to 3:30pm shift. I do removal of Lead and asbestos so i am in a containment. as hole group we chose to take our two breaks and lunch together giving us an hour instead of just a half hour.is this legal

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2017 at 9:59 am

      If you choose to do that, then there is no violation. That is considered a waiver of your two rest breaks, which normally are supposed to be separate from meal breaks.

  48. Anonymous on April 10, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    I work 11-730 I get my first break usually around 130 and then at I get my lunch at 230. Is there suppose to be a 2 hour gap in between it is this ok? Also prior to this they would send us on break prior to 2 hours into our shift. Is that allowed

    • Eugene Lee on April 11, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Rest breaks normally should be as close to the middle of each four hours worked as possible. But there is some flexibility on this due to the practicalities of different working conditions and environments. As long as you are getting two 10-min rest breaks and a 30-min meal break, and the meal break is starting before the end of the fifth hour, there is probably no violation.

  49. Anonymous on April 9, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Yes u should!!

  50. Anonymous on April 9, 2017 at 9:51 am

    I work 6:30am – 3:00pm. I am non-exempt employee and work for a hospital. Often times we are short staffed. Sometimes I work 6:30am – 2:30pm, 6:30am – 3:30pm or later with no lunch and no break relief. I clock out no lunch at the end of my shift. When I work 6:30am – 2:30pm, no lunch, no break, I clock out no lunch, they pay me for 8 hours. If I work 6:30am – 3:30pm, no lunch, no break, they pay me 8 hours regular pay and 30 minutes overtime. Should I be compensated for my “No Breaks” and should I be compensated differently for my “No Lunch”?

    • Anonymo on April 30, 2017 at 6:21 am

      It says up at the beginning of this article they are required to pay you and extra hour for each day a break is violated, which in your case would be your Lunch break.

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