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Laws For Rest Breaks In California

By on September 11, 2015

According to California Labor Code for Rest Breaks, Non-exempt employees are authorized and permitted to take a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. The Company authorizes and permits rest breaks according to the following schedule:

  1. A non-exempt employee who does not work more than 3.5 hours in a workday is not authorized and permitted to take a rest break.


  1. A non-exempt employee who works more than 3.5 hours in a workday but who does not work more than 6 hours in a workday is authorized and permitted to take one 10-minute rest break.


  1. A non-exempt employee who works more than 6 hours in a workday but who does not work more than 10 hours in a workday is authorized and permitted to take two 10-minute rest breaks.


  1. A non-exempt employee who works more than 10 hours in a workday but who does not work more than 14 hours in a workday is authorized and permitted to take three 10-minute rest breaks.


Whenever practicable, non-exempt employees should take their rest breaks near the middle of each four-hour work period. Non-exempt employees may not accumulate rest breaks or use rest breaks as a basis for starting work late, leaving work early, or extending a meal period. Non-exempt employees also may not leave work premises during a rest break.


Because rest breaks are paid, non-exempt employees should not clock out for them. Any non-exempt employee who is not authorized and permitted to take a rest break pursuant to the terms of this Policy should complete a California Meal Period and Rest Break Premium Request Form and submit it to his/her manager by the end of the pay period. Otherwise, the Company will assume the employee either took his/her rest break or voluntarily decided to waive it.


*Non-exempt employees who work more than 14 hours in a workday may be entitled to additional rest breaks.



Non-exempt employees are expected to take their rest breaks in accordance with the applicable guidelines set forth in this Policy. Management is expected to make rest breaks available to their employees in accordance with this Policy. Supervisors can schedule rest breaks for their employees, taking into account their department’s operational requirements and employee needs. Supervisors are responsible for administering their department’s rest breaks in a fair and uniform manner. Supervisors may not pressure or coerce employees to skip their rest breaks.



An exception exists under IWC Order 5-2001, Section 12(C) for certain employees of 24-hour residential care facilities, who may have their rest period limited under certain circumstances. Another exception to the general rest period requirement is for swimmers, dancers, skaters and other performers engaged in strenuous physical activities; such employees shall have additional interim rest periods during periods of actual rehearsal or shooting. For employees in certain on-site occupations in the construction, drilling, logging and mining industries, the employer may stagger the rest periods to avoid interruption in the flow of work and to maintain continuous operations, or schedule rest periods to coincide with breaks in the flow of work that occur in the course of the workday. In addition, for these employees, rest periods need not be authorized in limited circumstances when the disruption of continuous operations would jeopardize the product or process of the work. However, under such circumstances, the employer must make up the missed rest period within the same workday or compensate the employee for the missed 10 minutes of rest time at his or her regular rate of pay within the same pay period. Under Order 16-2001, rest periods must take place at employer-designated areas, which may include or be limited to the employee’s immediate work area.


Pursuant to Labor Code Section 1030, every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee’s infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. Break time that does not run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable IWC Order need not be paid. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee’s work area, for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. An employer is not required to provide an employee break time for purposes of lactating if to do so would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.


Since our employee was misclassified as exempt from overtime, it is also likely that are employee was denied the required daily rest breaks. California Labor Code §512 provides that all non-exempt employees (those entitled to overtime pay) must be given a 10 minute rest break for every four hours worked (or major fraction thereof). If the employer violates Labor Code §512, the employee is entitled to one hour of pay ($20) for every day a meal period was not provided.


Our employee can also seek penalties for the employer’s violation of California Labor Code §204, which requires California employers to remit payment of overtime wages no later than the payday for the next regular payroll period following the payroll period in which the overtime wages were earned. Although California Labor Code section 204 does not expressly provide for civil penalties, penalties can be obtained under California’s Private Attorneys General Act which provides for a $100 per employee per pay period for the initial violation, and $200 per employee for subsequent pay periods, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.


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