According to California labor law, breaks for meals and breaks for rest are a necessary requirement in the workplace. Surpassing the Fair Labor Standards Act, California labor laws are rightfully considered to be among the toughest in the Nation. The majority of occupations are entitled to a meal break every 5 hours of work if you work a six hour day and a 10 hour day.  These meal breaks are not compensated by the employer if they are completely free of work related activities.

 It is a California Labor Laws – Lunch Breaks violation if an employee is required to perform any work related duties during their meal period.  For example, if you take your lunch at your desk and are still required to answer the phone, then this is not a proper meal break.  Employers are required, then, to pay you for that time on “break”, as well as, compensate you an additional 1 hour of pay for each day you miss a mandatory meal period. 

Do you work 10 or more hours in one day?  If so, you are entitled under the law to receive 2 mandatory meal breaks that are to be spaced no more than five hours apart.  If your employer does not follow this requirement, you are entitled to an additional one hour of pay for every day you missed one meal or both meals. 

Under California labor law, breaks for rest are also a requirement for those “non-exempt” employees who work more than 3 and half hours in one day.  These breaks are considered work; therefore, the employee is to be paid for their time of rest.  Each mandatory rest break is to be 10 minutes long, and spaced evenly throughout each work period.

California employees who believe that their employers have violated their rights to overtime pay, or to lunch and other breaks should contact an overtime attorney to see if they might have a valid legal wage and hour claim under the California labor laws for breaks.