'Rest Periods' Under California Law

Has your employer been forcing you to work for hours on end without a break? If they are telling you that they are not required to give you a rest break or if they say, “You can rest when you get off work,” your employer may be violating your rights and the law.

Employees are entitled to “rest periods” per California’s employment laws. Under the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, employers are required to permit nonexempt employees to take rest breaks, and as practical as possible these must be taken in the middle of the employee’s work periods.

How does this work? Under the law, rest periods are based on the total hours the employee worked in a given day, and the rest period must be at least ten consecutive minutes for each four-hours worked.

However, employers are not required to give rest periods to employees who work less than three and one-half hours in a day.

Can I go where I want during one of my rest periods? Not always. Since employers compensate employees for their rest periods, an employer can require that employees remain on the employer’s premises during their rest periods.

Are there any exceptions? Yes, there are some exceptions for certain types of employees, such as those who work at 24-hour residential care facilities as well as dancers, skaters, swimmers, and other performers who are given additional rest periods during rehearsals and shooting.

Employees who work in certain on-site occupations such as the following may have different standards:

  • Logging
  • Drilling
  • Mining
  • Fishing
  • Construction

Under the basic requirements for rest periods, employers must provide covered employees with a 10-minute rest period for every four hours that they work.

If the employer does not allow their employee to rest, then the employer is required to pay the employee one hour of pay at their regular rate for each workday that the employee’s rest period was not provided.

Is your employer not allowing you to take your rest periods? If that’s the case, you have legal recourse.

If they are not paying you one hour of pay for each workday rest period that is not permitted, you can contact our Los Angeles employment law attorney to help you file a wage claim against your employer.

You are entitled to rest breaks. If your employer is violating the law, reach out to Alan Burton Newman, PLC for a free consultation!