In California, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than thirty minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee. A second meal period of not less than thirty minutes is required if an employee works more than ten hours per day, except that if the total hours worked is no more than 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and employee only if the first meal period was not waived.
Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during his or her thirty minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an “on duty” meal period that is counted as hours worked which must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay. An “on duty” meal period shall be permitted only when the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty. The test of whether the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty is an objective one.
If the employer requires the employee to remain at the work site or facility during the meal period, the meal period must be paid. This is true even where the employee is relieved of all work duties during the meal period.
If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period in accordance with the above, the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee’s rate of pay for each workday that the meal period is not provided.
With more than 40 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at Righetti · Glugoski, P.C., have the skills and knowledge to help you recover compensation from your employer for common labor law violations such as unpaid meal breaks and unpaid break time. From our offices in San Francisco, our firm represents individuals throughout California, from Oakland to Sacramento to Los Angeles and San Diego.
If you and your co-workers have been denied appropriate meal breaks or rest breaks or have other pay disputes, we encourage you to contact us. Your consultation is free and we do not charge any attorneys’ fees unless we recover compensation for you.
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