Meal and Rest Break compliance continues to create a great deal of anxiety for California Employers. Understanding the requirements is extremely important but ensuring they are followed can be quite another matter.
To comply with these rules, employers must do everything possible to communicate the legal requirements of employee break laws to non-exempt workers and provide them opportunities to take meal and rest breaks. The time for manual record keeping will push companies to find easier ways to record, gather, verify and ensure they are in compliance and avoid future problems.
Rest Break (10 minutes paid):
Rest Breaks must be offered at the rate of 10 minutes for every four (4) hours worked. Employers must allow employees (non-exempt) to have an uninterrupted rest period whose total daily work time is at least 3.5 hours. The best time to provide the Rest Period is around the 2nd and 3rd hour.
If either rest break is not given or is interrupted, you owe the employee one hour of pay, which you must include it in the next paycheck.
Meal Period (30 minutes - Unpaid):
The first meal period must be provided no later than the end of the employee's fifth (5th) hour of work. If the employee is scheduled or will not work past the sixth (6th) hour you could use a Waiver which would permit the employee to skip their Meal Period only if they agree to it in writing. This waiver must allow the employee to rescind his choice at any time. This cannot be changed from one day to the other. Documentation is crucial for compliance.
The employee must be:
- Relieved from all duties or assignments
- Relinquished control of their duties
- Permits them a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted, 30 minute break
- Does not impede or discourage them from doing so
Consult with a Human Resources expert like SimpleTime or your Legal Counsel regarding On-Duty Meal Breaks.
For each workday that you fail to provide an employee a meal period, as required, you will owe the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate.
A simple solution is implementing a Time & Attendance service which will create a Time and Cost savings for any business. Reach out to us to create a savings for your company.
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