The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that is responsible for putting into place some key employee welfare standards. However, the FLSA does not put in place and requirements for employers to offer meal and rest breaks. This means that the rights of employees to take meal and rest breaks at work depend on state laws.
In California, there are laws in place to ensure that workers can take meal and rest breaks while at work. The following is an overview of these laws. By learning about your rights, you will be able to take action if your rights are denied.
Your right to a paid rest period in the California workplace
As a worker in California, you have the right to a 10-minute paid rest period for every 4 hours worked. If it is possible to do so, workers should take this paid rest break in the middle of their shift. For example, if a worker has a 4-hour shift, they should be able to work 1 hour 55 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break, and then another 1 hour 55 minutes of work.
Your right to an unpaid meal break in the California workplace
For every 5 hours of consecutive work, employees in California are entitled to an unpaid, 30-minute meal period. Some employees in the motion picture industry are entitled to a meal period only after 6 hours of work.
If you are uncertain of your rights as a California worker or if you believe that your rights have been breached, you must take action and claim any damages that you are entitled to.