California Meal Break & Rest Break Law (2024) – Quick Calculator + Charts

This meal break and rest break calculator will tell you how many meal and/or rest breaks you are entitled to under California labor law. Just enter your shift start and shift end times and the calculator will explain your break rights. IMPORTANT: If you took unpaid meal breaks during your shift, say 30 minutes in total, MAKE SURE TO ENTER “30” IN THE MEAL BREAK INPUT WINDOW. The law considers only time worked on the clock. Meal breaks are usually taken off the clock and must not be included in the calculation.


Start of Your Shift (e.g., "9:00 am"):

End of Your Shift (e.g., "5:00 pm"):

Total meal breaks taken (in minutes) (e.g., "30"):

(The page will refresh after you press "calculate". Scroll down to see results in blue text.)
california meal break law, california rest break law


Under California meal break law (which is much more generous to employees than federal labor law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday.  You are also entitled to a 10-minute uninterrupted, duty-free rest breaks for every 4 hours you work (or “major fraction” thereof). If your boss doesn’t comply with break law requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a meal break violation occurred, and another extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a rest break violation occurred.

California Rest Break Law Chart

Hours on the ClockRest Breaks
0 – 3:29 hrs0
3:30 – 6 hrs1
6:01 – 10 hrs2
10:01 – 14 hrs3
14:01 – 18 hrs4
18:01 – 22 hrs5

California Rest Break Requirements

  • Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes that are uninterrupted.
  • Rest breaks must be paid.
  • If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to one rest break. If you work over 6 hours, you are entitled to a second rest break. If you work over 10 hours, you are entitled to a third rest break.
  • Rest breaks must to the extent possible be in the middle of each work period. If you work 8 hours or so, you should have a separate rest break both before and after your meal break.
  • Your boss may not require you to remain on work premises during your rest breaks.
  • You cannot be required to work during any required rest breaks. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest breaks provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.

California Meal Break Law Chart

Hours on the ClockMeal Breaks
0 – 5 hrs0
5:01 – 10 hrs1
10:01 – 15 hrs2
15:01 – 20 hrs3
20:01 –4

California Meal Break Law Requirements

  • If you work over 5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the fifth hour of your shift. BUT, you can agree with your boss to waive this meal period provided you do not work more than 6 hours in the workday. You can also agree with your boss to an on-duty meal break which counts as time worked and is paid.
  • If you work over 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the tenth hour of your shift. You can agree with your boss to waive the second meal break if you do not work more than 12 hours and you did not waive your first meal break.
  • You must be allowed to take your meal break off work premises and spend your break how you wish, since it is off the clock.
  • You cannot be required to work during any required meal break. [Cal. Lab. C. 512].
  • As of 2012, your boss has an affirmative obligation to ensure that breaks are made available to you but the actual taking of meal breaks is left to the employee. In other words, you are responsible for “breaking” yourself.

Note, rest breaks and meal breaks are supposed to be separate, they should not be combined. Your boss cannot give you a single 1-hour break and say that that counts as all of your meal breaks and rest breaks.

Keep in mind, there are many exceptions to the above for certain industries, such as the construction, healthcare, group home, motion picture, manufacturing, and baking industries.

Can I Skip or Waive My Breaks?

Employers are required by law to make timely meal and rest breaks available to you, but they aren’t required to make you take them. That is up to you as the employee. If you decide to voluntarily skip or waive your meal or rest break, or to take them late, with no pressure or encouragement from the employer, then that is legally permitted. BUT remember, employers have the right under California labor laws to set your work schedule, including your break schedule. While not required to do it, employers have the right to order employees to go on their meal and rest breaks. If the employee doesn’t comply, the employer has the right to discipline or terminate the employee for insubordination. So it is always a good idea to discuss with your employer beforehand your intention to skip or waive any meal or rest breaks, or to take them late.

Can I Sue My Employer for Violating California Meal Break and Rest Break Law?

Yes you can, and you should. If your employer is denying you meal breaks and rest breaks, you would be entitled to receive a penalty of 1 hour wages per day you were denied any rest breaks, and an additional penalty of 1 hour wages per day you were denied any meal breaks (for a maximum penalty of up to 2 hours wages per day). We can help you file a California labor board complaint. Give us a call at (213) 992-3299. Note, your claims are subject to strict filing deadlines. For meal and rest break violations, the filing deadline is usually considered to be 3 years thanks to a recent California Supreme Court decision. [Murphy v Kenneth Cole Productions, 40 Cal.4th 1094 (2007)], but in certain cases, a 1 year filing deadline could apply.

I Am an Exempt Salaried Worker, Can I Still Sue My Employer?

The correct answer is “it depends”. There are many kinds of exemptions under California labor laws. If you are a supervisor, you may fall under the supervisor exemption, otherwise known as the executive exemption. But that exemption has many requirements which your employer may have blown. Also, other kinds of exempt employees are still entitled to meal break and rest break rights. For instance, truck drivers are often considered exempt and are not entitled to California meal and rest breaks (although they must get breaks after 8 hours under federal law). Another example are “inside salespeople” who sell products or services while physically stationed at the employer’s office. While normally considered “exempt”, they are still entitled to meal breaks and rest breaks. Again, consult a lawyer to see if your situation qualifies for breaks.

Call (213) 992-3299 and Get Your Labor Board Complaint Started Now

Feel free to give us a call at (213) 992-3299 if you want to discuss filing a labor board complaint. We have successfully obtained awards for our clients in over 97% of our trials and hearings — one of the best trial records in the State of California. Let us put our decades of legal experience to work for you.

Photo courtesy of cjmellows


  1. Luci on March 8, 2019 at 10:35 am

    If I am an hourly employee working an 8 hr day, can I sign a waiver that allows me to take my meal break during my 6th hour of work instead of my 5th hour? Like if I work 8am to 5pm, can I take my meal break at 2pm?

    • Mike Dedrick on August 3, 2020 at 3:17 pm

      I work at a Tomato cannery
      I work 8 hours with no set breaks or lunch break
      How much extra should my employer be paying me in California

      • Ana A on October 7, 2020 at 6:04 pm

        I work from 3pm to 11:45pm my employer make us take a 1 hour lunch is that fair

        • Joshua Petrie on October 13, 2020 at 1:42 pm

          Yes, your employer directs your time schedule.

          • Rigoberto hernandez on August 22, 2022 at 6:19 am

            I every time I work nine hours the take two. 30 minute lunch out of my nine hours is that legal?

            • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:24 pm

              That is not legal if you aren’t actually taking those lunch breaks. In that case, that would be wage theft.

            • Geo on May 14, 2024 at 8:26 am

              Hi yeah my company when I started never gave us a 2nd lunch option when I started working there. Just this year they started letting us take 2nd lunch. Can I sue for the time we weren’t given a 2nd lunch option

        • Cici on July 25, 2021 at 9:19 pm

          Honestly, this really depends on the type of facility that you work in and what your state laws regarding this are. And this also truly depends on your employer as well. For example: In the state of CA for retail, if you work 9+ hours, the employees legally have to take 1 break and in terms of lunch hour, they can either Choose to take a 1 hour lunch instead of taking a required 2nd break with a shift like that. The 1 hour lunch basically cancels that 2nd break out.

          But employees do have to communicate with their employer and/or managers on this matter. In CA, with an 8 hour shift, Employees are Legally Required to take 2 Separate 15 minute rest breaks and a 30 minute lunch. This is also True for the Restaurant industry as well. Unless there’s some kind of agreement signed by both manager and employee; then it’s 100% illegal for employers Not to give their employees their Mandatory Meal Breaks. Be mindful that the 15 minute breaks are paid while the meal breaks are Not paid. I’m aware All managers and companies are different when it comes to this, but some managers will be more lenient in this aspect though.

      • Sandra on January 14, 2024 at 6:37 pm

        It’s your responsibility to take a 30 min lunch break (off the clock/not paid) if your employer denies this – then you should be paid for one hour of time for the lunch break missed. But it’s not up to your boss to determine what time you take your lunch – that’s your responsibility

    • Fred on September 15, 2020 at 11:33 pm

      1:59 yes but 2:00 it be a violation already

      • Cici on July 25, 2021 at 9:27 pm

        Honestly, for most states, if this is the case; they will actually violate at 1:00 on the dot if it’s an 8-5 pm shift. Employees violate meal breaks at the 5th hour exactly every time. Another thing is let’s say they violate their 5th hour & let’s say they have to stay behind for something; those Employees are in fact Required to get paid for violating their 5th hour. And most companies know this so it’s why a lot of companies can be strict in getting their employees out for lunch so they won’t violate their 5th hour.

        As I remember a few years back, this exact thing happened to me where I violated my 5th hour probably by 30 mins. to maybe 1 hour because of being short-staffed and a long-ass line during the holidays that I had to help get down & that got a little intense tbh. Including me, there were literally Only 4 cashiers that day with about what 30+ customers in line. I do remember 1 of the managers mentioning something about me having to get paid for violating my lunch hour.

  2. Joann Kenyon on March 3, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Can I voluntarily skip breaks to make my day a shorter day without my employer being penalized?

    • David Johnson on February 10, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      Not in California.

      • Jason on June 23, 2020 at 7:15 am

        Question regarding if employees can dictate (refuse not to take a 30min meal break scheduled by a manager) to choose not to take their 30 minute meal break when working five or more hours but less than six hours.

        Our employees have voluntarily signed a break waiver. We have several employees that continue to be argumentative in not wanting to take their scheduled 30 minute meal break when working a shift that will result at 5 1/2 hours. Can an employee in California refuse to take their scheduled 30 minute meal break under these 5.5 shift hours conditions, or must the resulting choice to waive a particular break on a particular day under these conditions be of mutual agreement between the employee and manager?

    • Tina on January 14, 2024 at 6:38 pm

      You can skip rest breaks but not your meal break. Rest breaks are just 10min- so use that as your bathroom breaks

  3. Charise on February 28, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Can my employer make me take an hour meal break if I only want to do a 30 min break?? I’m working 6 hours, and they want me to take an hour meal break which is ridiculous.

    • ALI on March 4, 2019 at 8:24 am


      • Eduardo on March 21, 2020 at 10:34 am

        Can my employer send me to lunch at 10/10:30am if I start work at 7:50 am, I’m working an 8-10 hr shift? Or is there a law that I can’t go to lunch so early.

        • Rey on August 17, 2020 at 10:23 am

          When I was 17 I hit my 5th at work and almost lost my job because I was waiting for the managers to send someone to cover for me what could I have done ?? Also now a days I never get my break in time I have to wait 1 hour or 1 hour in a half to go to break and I’m just 18 what can I do in this situation besides talking to management Because many other have complained about that and they haven’t done anything

        • Rey on August 17, 2020 at 10:23 am

          When I was 17 I hit my 5th at work and almost lost my job because I was waiting for the managers to send someone to cover for me what could I have done ?? Also now a days I never get my break in time I have to wait 1 hour or 1 hour in a half to go to break and I’m just 18 what can I do in this situation besides talking to management Because many other have complained about that and they haven’t done anything

          • Jen Machado on December 15, 2020 at 11:33 am

            If you don’t care about losing your job, tell them you have to take your break, by law. This will train them not to take advantage of you, every day, and either make them better managers or help find you a better job. If the laws are violated, it can mean money per day per instance. Before doing this, I recommend keeping a log of your time and find how many violations occur to show the pattern. If it persists, you can send through certified mail, (must be signed for by the recipient) a copy of the law, so if this becomes a legal case, they cannot say they were not made aware.

            • Joshua Petrie on December 15, 2020 at 4:19 pm

              Ignorance of the law is not excuse of the law… or so I’ve been told…

            • Veronica on April 29, 2021 at 12:33 pm

              I work a graveyard shift with one other person and we are not allowed to leave the premises or go outside our establishment I asked manager about paid lunches first he said no then he said we can take 2 a week but I work 5 nights a week is that right by law?

              • Joshua Petrie on May 1, 2021 at 9:20 am


                “Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during his or her thirty minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an “on duty” meal period that is counted as hours worked which must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay. An “on duty” meal period shall be permitted only when the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the employer and employee an on-the-job paid meal period is agreed to. The written agreement must state that the employee may, in writing, revoke the agreement at any time. IWC Orders 1 -15, Section 11, Order 16, Section 10. The test of whether the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty is an objective one. An employer and employee may not agree to an on-duty meal period unless, based on objective criteria, any employee would be prevented from being relieved of all duty based on the necessary job duties. Some examples of jobs that fit this category are a sole worker in a coffee kiosk, a sole worker in an all-night convenience store, and a security guard stationed alone at a remote site.”

    • Kelsie on June 25, 2021 at 12:35 pm


    • Cici on July 25, 2021 at 9:35 pm

      Hi Charise,

      1.) I’m aware your comment was 2 years ago 2.) Please look up your state laws regarding this matter. Honestly, I live in CA so I only know their laws, but in the state of CA, with a 6 hour shift, you only get 1 break and 1 30 minute lunch. To my knowledge, no one is supposed to be getting a 1 hour lunch with a 6 hour shift. It’s supposed to be 30 minutes from what I know and my own experiences. 3.) If the managers you work with say something like, “Oh it’s always been 1 hour,”–I’m aware no one likes doing this, but I’d highly recommend going to your company’s corporate and asking them questions since they’ll have more answers for you themselves. Yes, your managers will find out about you reaching out to corporate, but inform them that you wanted some clarification on questions you had regarding meal breaks for your company. If they tell you they gave you an answer, maybe try say something like, “It wasn’t the answer I was looking for and I wanted clarification,” but definitely be nice about it. There is literally Nothing wrong in asking questions for clarification purposes.

  4. Christopher on February 19, 2019 at 10:47 am

    im currently working for a company going on to 4yrs now. mon-fri 10am-7pm & sat 10am-5pm. i was review my worked hours of my first year working and i notice i was paid overtime at regular hourly rate. i mention this to my employer and he told me he did not know about the overtime rate till his accountant told him. then my employer told me he can pay me every cent he owes me but it wont be my last day working for the company. what can i do about this?

    • Anon on February 27, 2019 at 9:08 pm

      Contact a lawyer because he broke the law, as far as I understand it, depending on the state you live in, there a whiseblower laws, in which you would be protected from being fired. This probably would not last for forever and I would recommend trying to find another job anyways, but he owes you a lot of money. About .5 hours of pay for Monday – Friday, and 3.5 hours of pay for every Saturday. So about 312 hours of pay. (.5 per day, 3.5 per sat. or 2.5 + 3.5 = 6, 6 * 52 = 312)

      This is not legal advice and I recommend you consult a lawyer.

      • Suzanne on March 14, 2022 at 6:35 pm

        Did they give you an employee manual? It mite say you’re entitled to a paid 10 minute break. If it does, you probably won’t win if you sue. The employer will say they never stopped you from taking the break. Employers are sneaky this way.

  5. enrique on February 19, 2019 at 10:39 am

    im currently working for mobile repair shop. i been working there for about 4yrs now and i work a 9hr shift per day 6days a week. in those 4yrs i did know about breaks. i knew of lunch breaks only. my employer didnt mention me about the 10min breaks. can i sue my employer for 4yrs of not taking 2 10min breaks?

    • Anon on February 27, 2019 at 9:10 pm

      I recommend you consult a lawyer, my understanding of the situation is yes. You would be entitled to 1 hour of pay for every single missed break.

  6. Michele on February 17, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    I have been working at a California Resturaunt for 3 years now. The average amount of your I work per shift is anywhere from 3-7 hours. In my years of working there they have never allowed me to take any sort of 10 minute break and I can count on my hands the the amount of times I have been allowed a 30 min lunch break.
    They have recently turned our break room into a storage closet, so there is literally no place for us to go to have a minute during our shift.
    They are recently wrinting people up for being on their phones, but I believe if we were given our breaks and meal periods which we are legally entitled to, this would not be an issue.
    The only time they add an hour to my pay check is on major holidays when we are there for 8 hours and have no break. Other than that they do not compensate us for our missed breaks or lunches.
    I haven’t said anything to my employers because I fear retaliation. I feel like they will start taking away my shifts because I am complaining. I have seen them take away shifts from other employees because they have expressed their issues with them.
    My job is very high stress and it is a very busy upscale restaurant with customers with high demands. My managers try to run the Reston as little servers as they can. I have been suffering with extreme anxiety before I go into work lately because I just never know how much I will be expected to do and just hope I can meet all of the expectations.
    I need this job as I am finishing school, but I’m sick of them treating us like we have no rights and I have no idea how they get away with what they do with so many of us.

    • Anon on February 27, 2019 at 9:16 pm

      I recommend you consult a lawyer, but you would be entitled to 1 hour of pay for every single missed break, with the extra money you could start trying to find another job / finish up school. I think you would have a really good chance since there is no break-room. Also in California there are whistle-blower protections, which should buy you some time with regard to retaliation from your employer.

    • D on March 9, 2019 at 6:50 am

      You should report a labor law violation and file a wage claim with the State. Your employer definitely broke the law not allowing breaks, nor compensating you for them.

  7. kelsey on February 13, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    i am the manager of a restaurant. i schedule employees for shifts ranging between 4 and 7 hours. we request that every employee take a lunch break, unpaid, but we supply them with a free meal. i often have employees who put up a fight and do not want to take their breaks, but i’m of the understanding that employers can require breaks to be taken (we feel that it covers us legally and it also is good for the employee to not be in the chain of service for 30 minutes during a shift). a waiver would have to be mutual between the employee AND the employee, correct? is this true or are my employees allowed to refuse breaks under 5 hours?

    additionally, it is hard to anticipate the flow of business in the restaurant industry, so if their shift is scheduled for 4 hours i have them take a break even though they may be sent home before the end of their scheduled shift. (if they ever are sent home before the 2 hour minimum, we always pay them for 2 hours, as required, and do not request a break be taken.)

  8. Berta Ramos on February 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm

    We work for a CA State University, where one department is stating the schedule is 8:30 to 5:30 with 1 hour lunch and 0 breaks. Is this legal?

    • Cici on July 25, 2021 at 9:59 pm

      In California specifically, no that is not legal one bit. Please look up your local laws because under “California Meal Break Law Requirements” literally has the statement below it: “Note, rest breaks and meal breaks are supposed to be separate, they should not be combined. Your boss cannot give you a single 1-hour break and say that that counts as all of your meal breaks and rest breaks.”

      The last sentence is key where it mentions: “Your boss CANNOT give you a single 1-hour break and say that that counts as all of your meal breaks and rest breaks.” And the rest and meal breaks are supposed to be Separate. So if this happens to also be a law in your state, your company can technically & legally get sued for that. With an 8:30 am – 5:30 pm shift, that’s 9 hours so you are legally entitled to 2 Rest Breaks and 1 30 minute lunch. If you do happen to have a 1 hour lunch with a 9 hour shift, you are still Legally Entitled to 1 rest break. And in CA, the rest break has to be at least 10 minutes and has to be paid too. Rest breaks are required to be paid, meal breaks aren’t and employers cannot force their employees to stay on the premises during their meal breaks.

      At the very top of this page, it tells you what CA state laws are and what you mentioned is especially illegal in terms of restaurant and retail industries, but you may need to some digging when it comes to universities since it did mention how there are “some exceptions to the above,” but it didn’t give a university as an example. I would think it’d be just as illegal for universities to do this just as it is for restaurants and retail industries.

  9. Johnny on February 11, 2019 at 11:16 am

    I start at 7:15 lunch at 12 clock back in at 1pm clock out at 5:30pm am I required to clock out for a second lunch between 1 and 5:30? other people at my work aren’t pressured to clock out like I am? what do you think

  10. Steve on February 11, 2019 at 1:39 am

    If an employee works 6 hours. They are only required to take a 10min break correct?

    • Ashley on February 21, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      The employee would be entitled to a paid 10 min break and an unpaid 30 min lunch.

    • LLL on February 22, 2019 at 10:55 am

      If an employee works 6 hours or less, then can request to skip their required 30-min meal break. However, it the employee works over the 6 hours as initially requested, and did not take a meal break, the employee is entitled to a 1-hour missed meal penalty. The employer has the option to discipline that employee if the employer did not cause the employer to work pass the 6-hour agreed time. Note that all employers automatically pay the missed meal penalty. The employee may have to request it.

      That same employee working 6 hours is entitled to a 10-min paid break.

  11. Gin on February 9, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I work for a non profit in California. I am unable to take breaks away from my station because the client I care for can not be left alown. There is no one to relive me. I work 7 hours a day. How should I be compensated by my employer for them to be in compliance with State law?

  12. Richelle on February 8, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Is there a minimum amount of time required before a lunch break can be taken?

  13. CS on February 4, 2019 at 10:55 am

    Coming from an employer side, we provide employees with minimum 30 minute lunch breaks before the 5th hour; and we always encourage employees to take their breaks. However, we have employees who claim that they missed their lunch breaks due to working on projects even though we discourage missing lunch breaks. It was their choice to miss the lunch breaks.
    As the employer, are we violating the law and are we required to pay the penalty of 1 hour wages? We have been paying the penalty of 1 hour wages as a precaution but it seems like employees are abusing the policy.
    Please advise how we should handle such situations. Thanks.

    • Suzy on February 13, 2019 at 11:34 am

      I would start disciplining those employees for skipping lunches. That’s costing you money and breaking the labor laws! See below where people have been fired for much less.

  14. Sue on February 2, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    I work in California my old job I went a whole year and a half working from eight in the morning to 6:37 PM without no lunch no break no nothing didn’t leave the office at all what do you guys think should I file complaint

    • erin on February 4, 2019 at 3:57 pm

      Yes, you should! These laws and processes are in place to protect you as a worker. Your employer must have known that you didn’t take a break for a whole year and a half. They took advantage of your ignorance of these particular laws. File a complaint now that you do know!

  15. Daivd on January 31, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I have a question about the lunch violation is there a grace period? I got a write up for going over one minute. I work in customer service and I don’t want to give bad customer service.

    • Angela Sawyer on February 2, 2019 at 7:10 am

      Nope. You gotta clock out on time. 1 min over could mean you meal violated and they have to pay you for an extra hour of work. They wrote you up to prove a point. I typically schedule breaks at the 4th hr to prevent this

  16. Derek on January 30, 2019 at 5:28 am

    I work in the manufacturing industry and start our shift at 6am-2:30pm. It’s common that we don’t get a meal break till 12pm and often not till 12:30 or 1pm. Are there any laws against this? I ask because I get hungry!

    • Eugene Lee on January 30, 2019 at 7:28 am

      That’s a late lunching violation and you are owed 1 hour of penalty for each day that happens. Lunch must begin before the end of the fifth hour. In your case, that means lunch must begin before 11 am. You should consider filing a labor board complaint.

  17. ML on January 19, 2019 at 9:09 am

    As of yesterday, i worked for Walmart. I worked a 5-4 shift, took my lunch from 9:59-11:00. After returning, I started working on notes and tasks given to me . Before I realized it was time for me to clock out, which I did at 4:09. I was given a coaching for going over my 2nd fifth hour or not taking a second lunch. Because this is my third, I was terminated. I asked if there were any other outcomes to this so I wouldn’t get the coaching be terminated but the assistant said no. Is this true?

  18. Cathy Le on January 19, 2019 at 8:13 am

    I have my employees work from 5:30AM to 2:00PM Can my employees take 2 break 15 minutes first and lunch at 12:00PM?

    • Jesse on February 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      It said the 15 min breaks must be before AND after lunch. So lunch has to be in the middle of the breaks and MUST start before the 5th hour ends. In your case the 5th hour would end at 11:30 AM (5:30 am to 11:30 is 6 hours) I would recommend them taking lunch at 10:00-10:45 so you can afford people being late without going over 5 hours and getting written up for late lunch violation.

  19. L on January 18, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    My scheduled time is from 8am-5pm with 1hr Lunch. Recently ive been having to leave work and come back or leave work at a certain time due to Dr. visits. My supervisor allows me to but just about a month ago the HR person told my supervisor i am not allowed to take a 30min lunch even if i do less than 8hrs, that no matter how many hours i work i am always suppose to take an hour Lunch which i think its wrong. Is the HR person wrong? can i report them? I am the only person in the building that has this rule since i believe im.the only one that works 9hrs

  20. Francisco on January 12, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    So today I was scheduled to work at 2pm-7:15pm but I came in late at 2:07 and I got my 10min break but I was told I have to get a 30min break. I don’t want to take the 30min bc then it’s less hours I get paid. Do I have to take my 30min break mandatory?

    • Ryan on January 14, 2019 at 1:17 am

      I’m not a lawyer. But if you look at the law, you are allowed to waive your meal break if you didn’t work 6 hours or more. It sounds like you worked just over five hours, so you would be legally allowed to waive your break without causing your employer a penalty. Not sure if they can force you to break or not. But if you choose not to take a meal break you should be OK.

  21. Concerned employee on January 12, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    If I start at 9am, but do not get off until 6pm, and I take 1hour lunch, my boss told me that since I take 1 hour lunch off the clock, I’m not entitle for any rest breaks, and nevertheless I always have to answer any calls even on my lunch breaks. What can I do?

    • Stella on January 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

      It looks as if you are combining your rest break and meal breaks. Plus getting and extra 10 minutes. You are entitled to 30 Minutes unpaid meal break and 2 10 minute paid rest breaks. If you are getting paid for a full our lunch break you are getting more than the law requires.

      • Luke Tahoe on January 14, 2019 at 4:36 pm

        Based on the laws it seems you may be entitled to pay during your 2 ten minute breaks. This may or may not be worth talking about depending on your employer, since you are getting an extra ten minutes already, and taking all of these together which they are not legally required to let you do.

      • Dori on March 3, 2019 at 3:47 am

        But also working off the clock! How is the a lunch break?

    • Ethan on January 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm

      You have a good case. They make you work during your “off the clock” 1 hour lunch break. THAT’S illegal. I don’t know what these other people been reading, but your boss is WRONG and not just for making you work (answer calls) during your 1 hour lunch break, but also for not giving you your 2 ten minute breaks. It doesn’t matter if you take a 2 or 3 or 4 hour lunch break, if you worked 3.5 – 6.0 consecutive hours PRIOR to your lunch break, THEN YOU ARE entitled to 1 ten minute break in-between your consecutive hours worked. Look at the charts above and read carefully ALL that applies. I recommend that if you don’t have plans to sue him as of yet, then meanwhile collect as much “prove” as can. Where it may look like you are being vindictive and resentful towards your boss for “trampling” on your lunch break, it isn’t illegal and yet HIS actions are. Make copies of all labor board breaks information and have a different person mail it to him certified or send it email from an anonymous email, then YOU keep all the documents so that you can let your attorney know that he was made aware of what the laws are and YET he/she STILL continued to screw you over. Don’t let yourself! It isn’t that complicated and most of these bosses are just a bunch of bullies. Good luck.

  22. Concerned citizen on January 9, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Your segment and calculator on when you have to take the meal break is wrong. It’s by then end of the 5th hour, not the beginning.
    Please reference:

    • Eugene Lee on January 9, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      I just checked the calculator and it is correct. The calculation is a bit tricky. With all due respect I think you aren’t doing the calculation correctly.
      Yes the end of the fifth hour is correct. That’s what the calculator and the article says. Not the start of the fifth hour. Where do you see otherwise?

  23. Bre on January 8, 2019 at 10:52 am

    If a crew starts at 4:30 AM and gets off at 7 PM. The above states you must be allowed to begin your first meal break before 9:30 AM, otherwise it is a late lunch violation. You must be allowed to begin your second meal break before 2:30 PM, otherwise it is a late lunch violation.

    Then you read further down under California Meal Break Law it states, if you work over 5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of your fifth hour of your shift.

    Isn’t 4:30 – 9:30 5 hours? So, wouldnt it technically be before 10:29, before a late lunch violation takes place? This can get pretty confusing, looking for some clarification. Thanks!

    • Jenea on January 9, 2019 at 8:09 am

      Yesterday my company sent me to lunch 6hrs and 10 min after beginning my shift (started at 9:15a 1 hour lunch at 3:25-4:25) due to a meeting that started at 2:30-3 that went past the scheduled time til 3:25. They then tried to cover themselves by coding my lunch taken from 3-4pm with another meeting at 4-4:25. What should I do?

  24. Jane on January 2, 2019 at 11:17 am

    On weekends I’m d person in charge of the shift so I can never have an uninterrupted lunch break or my 10 minutes break. It’s been like this for years. I’m constantly answering the phone or solving problems on my breaks. Can I start a lawsuit because of this?

  25. Amy on December 22, 2018 at 8:50 am

    I am typically only scheduled for 3.5 hour shifts. Sometimes I work closer to 4 or 4.5 hours, depending on how busy we are and how late customers come in before we close. On those days, I definitely won’t work more than six hours (never even more than five), but my employer has still required me to take an unpaid 30 minute meal break. I was previously just taking about ten minutes paid, which was really all I needed and because it was my understanding that I was able to do that. They’ve since spoken to me about it and said that EVERYONE needs to clock out and take their full 30 minute meal, unless it’s busy and they call us back. We usually don’t take a break until it’s not as busy, though, so that part hasn’t been an issue. I’ve never experienced any of this and need some guidance or support as far as what my rights are and to be clear with them.

  26. Ernesto on December 21, 2018 at 10:28 am

    I work for a security company that provides security for a philantropist. When I started they asked me to sign my rights away. I asked them if I don’t what happens and the Human Resources Representative said you don’t get hired. I was deperate for a job. I asked for a copy and they denied me. Also, my shift supposed to start at 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. but they want me to start at 5:45 a.m. and write 6 a.m. in the time sheets. I’ve been working for them for 74 months. Also the company pays me for two ten minute breaks & a paid half an hour lunch but i only get one break and one lunch. My boss said it was my responsibility to call him for my second breaks. When I work twelve hours, I get a third ten minute paid break but co-workers are telling me I’m supposed to get another lunch. Can this California Company take my rights away and mistreat me like this?

  27. MYRA KINCAID on December 20, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    If an employee works on Christmas, and it is a paid Holiday do I have to pay him Overtime?

    • Ernie G. on December 21, 2018 at 10:14 am

      Double time

    • Jacobo on January 4, 2019 at 9:21 pm


    • Shad on February 18, 2019 at 3:19 pm

      Double time and a half.. holiday = 8 hrs any hours added to that day would be time and half + holiday = double time and half

  28. Miguel garcia on December 18, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    Hi my name is Miguel and I have a question I recently was supposed to start a new job with an agency I showed up to the job site nd was sent home about an hour there for not having steel toe shoes am I supposed to get paid automatically 4 hours by law for showing up to the job site or is there anything I can do about it

  29. Michael DiMaria on December 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    in my ~3 years at my job as a dishwasher I have never been offered one of my breaks (unpaid meal or rest) I worked four 8-9 hour shifts per week. When I formally brought it to my bosses attention, during a one on one meeting that, I would in fact like to be taking my breaks (1 unpaid 30, 2 paid tens), and am NOT choosing to waive them, I was told that would be ok. From then on, I still had to ask for every single break (never given break times) and often my break was not covered while I was gone, or I was given an attitude about taking it, or interrupted before it was over. Also because no one else was being given their proper breaks I was intimidated to be the only one asking (three times a day). Pretty soon I stopped asking for breaks because these circumstances made it very stressful. My stress was also conpounded because I wasnt taking any breaks! 50 days after my formal request for breaks, I snapped at my boss via text about not being supportive of staff and not being able to provide us with proper breaks after which he terminated me on the spot for “refusing to follow basic orders”, waited four days to give me my last paycheck, and my unemployment was subsequently denied. What can be done?

    • Edwin on December 15, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      Sue them, it’s worth it, especially if you don’t get scared and back down

      • mike on December 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm

        I do worry about being blacklisted from an industry I have personal friends in, only to recieve some money but no positive effect on my other coworkers or the industry as a whole in which this behavior is pretty routine.

  30. Lisa Adams on December 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    I am a night RN House Supervisor at a hospital and I work 12 hour shifts. Recently I was told that I cannot leave the hospital during my meal breaks but my boss still wants me to clock out for 30 minutes for a lunch. Is this legal?

  31. Johnny on December 11, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    How many hours are mandatory between shifts. I.e. if I end a work day on Monday 9pm, when is the earliest legally that I should be expected to clock in again? 8/10 hours or so?

    • Angela Monique F Sawyer on February 2, 2019 at 7:12 am


  32. Domenic Cascario on December 11, 2018 at 3:02 am

    When working past twelve hours on actual clock time, not counting the 45 minute lunch that is unpaid, would the 45 minute lunch subtract from clock time so we are actually only working 11.75 hours. To prevent the required extra lunch after 12 hours

  33. John doe on December 3, 2018 at 10:10 am

    I have 2 questions 1st one they just started doing the meal penalty at my work are we suppose to get back pay for all the prior times we passed our fifth hour because my job seems to not even want to talk about that and 2nd they kicked us off our ADP due to the fact that they gave an employee full administrative access to it so that means they leaked out our information

  34. Jessy on December 1, 2018 at 9:03 pm

    My workplace (a non-profit cafe and store) has recently told its employees that by law they are required to clock out for half an hour after they work five hours. Since in the past we only worked six or seven hour shifts, management has decided that we should only work five hour shifts in order to abide by this law. This decision has cut into vital hours for some of us and seems disruptive to our “flow”. I can find nothing in the information above that says anything about “five hours then clock out for half an hour or else be done for the day”. I do see that we can agree to waive the half-hour (again, where does it say clock out?) if we only work a total of six hours. Can you please respond and clarify this, I’m being told that those in charge have researched this thoroughly. For the good of all, I’m wanting more clarification. Thanks –

    • Angela on February 2, 2019 at 7:08 am

      You can work up to 6 without a lunch. But if you work 6hrs then take a lunch and come back to work more you would have violated. Companies schedule 5 or 5.5hrs as a safety net. I never schedule 6hr shifts

  35. Jenny on November 29, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Can u file as a Anonymous person when you know you and other employees are not getting your brakes that you don’t want your boss to know it was you

  36. Sharon on November 20, 2018 at 6:51 am

    I work for the federal govt in healthcare. I work 10 hours, start my shift at 1pm and leave at 1130pm. After 5pm , there are no staff available as they end their shift to give lunch breaks. Can I legally ask to get a lunch break between 4-5pm while there are still staff to give lunch? Also, is it mandated that 30minutes lunches are suppose to be uninterrupted? The charge nurse gives me the phone at 4pm, so when I get offered a lunch break, i end up answering phone calls while on lunch break. Is this legal?

    • Eddy on December 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

      No, the lunch break you take is 30 minutes UNINTERRUPTED, and you can NOT work during that 30 minutes. You can legally ask to take your lunch break at any time you please.

  37. dani on November 17, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Okay 10 minute breaks are paid, if you were to go over that limit (say 11 minutes) are they allowed to take away those 11 minutes from your wages?

    • Bryan B on December 6, 2018 at 9:30 am

      I was told by a Labor Law Attorney many years ago that if an employee is free to use the restroom and / or have refreshments, water etc. whenever they like that the employer does not have to give them a scheduled 10 min break, can you tell me if that is true or not?

  38. Jessica on November 13, 2018 at 11:28 am

    So I have heard my employer has been sued in the past for break violations. Even during my first week of employment I was denied any breaks for a 5 hour shift. My boss was a bit hostile when I asked about getting my extra hour, but I did get it. I have been noticing now that for shifts 6 hours or more they rarely give us our 10s unless we ask and sometimes it is just not feasible because we are understaffed and too busy. Lunches are also given starting at the first 2-3 hour mark of a shift instead of in the middle, when we should be getting our first 10 minute break and we are forced to take a 45min lunch. Lunches are also given during the time when we would be getting our second 10 minute break sometimes, so we come back from lunch and only have an hour or two before we are scheduled to go home. They do not make time in the schedule for 10 minute breaks but they do schedule the 45 minute lunch periods even though rarely are they able to be taken on time. Is there any thing that can be done about it?

  39. What Is a Timesheet? | mojafarma on November 13, 2018 at 7:51 am

    […] such as New York City and Chicago, require businesses to provide a certain amount of sick leave. California requires employers to provide a 30-minute unpaid lunch break to employees who work more than five […]

  40. Mari on November 13, 2018 at 12:09 am

    Does CA labor law applies to the County employee?

  41. GARY WHITESCARVER JR on November 7, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    When are you legally allowed to leave employers grounds?
    Only when you clock out for lunch?
    Can you leave on all your breaks?

    • Eugene Lee on November 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      yes – otherwise, you are being denied your meal or rest break.

    • Debra on November 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      You are entitled to leave during your breaks. If you have to stay on premises for “work” purposes, you have to be paid for that time because you are “working” and not free to spend your break as you wish.

  42. Amanda on November 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    So my employee handbook only says managers will give breaks according to how busy the store is are they obligated to put how many breaks we get per shift or hours worked? Also I was told by managment I only get one 10 min break unless I go over 6 hrs I thought I was entitled to at least one rest break & one 30 min meal break are they correct or not abiding by C.A state laws

  43. Ross on November 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    A couple years ago I was hired by my employer with the title/position of “x”, as I work in a specialty field of service that others cannot perform. Another employee before I was hired also had same title/position of “x” but will leave, leaving only me as an “x” in my department.

    Just recently, the Union that was voted in signed a contract with the employer and I was shown my new increased union pay along with title same position of “x”.
    My boss commented I would excel in pay above the others a month ago because I was an “x” while others where in the “r” category.
    Apparently, others complained and my boss just recently claimed, “oh, we (the company) is going to have to change your title to “y” as “x” actually does not exist in my department but don’t worry, you’ll still get your money offered you (but no clarification of which new pay range, r or x?)
    The boss asked me to voluntarily sign a new job description form agreeing to change my job title/position to “y” which I did not as of yet.

    Can they do this legally?

    As I do not want to go by just a verbal agreement from my manager plus I realize the salary range for “x” is much higher, as where “y” has capped out below my current pay and what’s to say later, someone comes along and says we’ll have to adjust your pay since your category of “y” exceeds your pay or occurs after this union contract expires.

    • Robyn on November 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Contact the union representative as their job is to fight for your job. A union worker I would urge you not to sign anything without taking to your union first as is your legal right once a union begins representing you.

  44. Irvine on October 31, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I work in outdoor construction constantly under the scorching sun. No shade provided for our non existing breaks and lunch. I start from 6am-230pm, most days (4 of 5) im working 1+ hrs ot.
    I dont get lunch or breaks. And when i do get lunch i get forced to have it at 1230pm sometimes being rushed or interrupted. (Still no breaks) Ongoing issue for four months and counting. Theres even times i work 13hr shifts NO lunch NO breaks. And when the issue is addressed the formans give you the run around. First month of working here the forman was telling the HR we were taking breaks and lunch when it was completely false. I finally addressed the issue but they still insisted it was because we dont have enough time in the day for breaks. Need help. Not a union job. Do i have a case?

  45. Xjjx on October 26, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I have a quick fast and easy question
    So I usually work 2-8 which is 6 hours which here it says over 6 hours is 2 breaks but does the 30 minute lunch count. It says if you work but what does work mean does that include the lunch because I put in the start time and end time and I got from 2:00-8:01 which is 6 hour 1 minute it says 2 breaks and 1 lunch of 30 minute but does hours worked include

    Because this calculator shows if I put 2:00 to 8:01 it says that is 6 hours and 1 minute
    But I had a 30 minute lunch at 6:30-7:00.
    So I worked on clock to be paid for 5 and a half and also a minute so why does this say 2 breaks

  46. Robert on October 25, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Can hourly employees that work 8 hours in a day skip a 1 hour lunch break (allowed by the company) and go home 1 hour early but get paid for 8 hours?Maybe even skip 1 lunch and 1 break (of 2 allowed 15 min breaks) and go home after working 7.75 hours?

  47. Cathleen Hlatkey on October 25, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I can not understand why taking a lunch is the Law. It is tedious and too political. Why do hourly employees get strict rules and salary employees get to do whatever the hell they want?
    Hourly employees get the shaft every time and get treated like crap. I am going through this now.
    I wish things were like 30 years ago. Laws on everything this day are getting so ridiculous.

    • Rob Schoenenberger on October 25, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      Do you work for Union Pacific Railroad?

  48. Robert on October 22, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Timing at 4:59 hours in doesn’t work for some of our employees in our preschool/child care business. Do we file for an exception? Already have an exception for our industry? Document why it doesn’t work and have written agreement with employees for a later lunch? What do we do?

  49. Trevor on October 17, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I have a question that I am not seeing asked on the thread. My company is interpreting the lunch laws in a manner I find odd. They are requiring employees to take a 30 minute rest period for each 5 hour period worked regardless of total hours worked. So for example, if I came in at 9 AM and clocked out for lunch at 11 am, when I return back at 11:30 am I’ve worked 2 hours. They would then require us to clock out no later than 4:30PM for another lunch to avoid hitting a contiguous 5 hours (11:30 am – 4:30 pm = 5 hours). In this example, I’ve only worked a total amount of 7 hours for the day and am being forced to stay at work an additional 30 minutes to take a 2nd meal break so that I can return and complete my last hour for my full 8 hours. Is this interpretation by the company correct? It is actually a burden for someone like me who works 9 hours quite often because it forces me to wait until at least the 4 hour mark in the day to take a lunch so that I do not have to clock out for a 2nd one later. I am a non-exempt employee and it is driving me crazy that the rules are being enforced like this and want to know if this is actually the law.

    • John F on October 25, 2018 at 9:02 pm

      In the beginning of your statement, you mentioned you are getting a second lunch break but then at the end, you mentioned they are trying to avoid giving you a 2nd lunch break? So do you get one or two lunch breaks?

      I am not a lawyer but base on the information you presented, I believe, the company is not doing anything wrong. Maybe odd but nothing wrong. Instead of giving you an hour lunch in the middle of your shift, they give you two 30-minute lunches. They are probably avoiding a continuous 5 hours not to be sneaky, but rather so you are more awake and productive. Like you said, your total hours worked is still no more than 8 hours for the day. As long as they pay you for overtime if you pass more than an hour at the end of the shift.

      If they were straight-forward with employees from the beginning that this is how they schedule their day then they have done nothing unethical. Now it is up to you if you like to stay with the company with this type of shift schedule.

      NOW, if they only gave you one 30-minute lunch you definitely have to clock out at 5:30 pm. Otherwise, you are owed overtime pay. If this was the case, they probably won’t have you go to lunch as early as 11 am.

  50. Jerry on October 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    I work at a school and I’m contracted to work a 6 hour day. It ends up being a 7 hour day because they give us an hour lunch instead of 30 minutes. I went in to tell them that I wanted a 30 minute lunch or pay me for the extra half an hour if you want me here all day. They said no to the 30 minute lunch. Is this legal for them to give me an hour lunch on a 6 hour work day?

    • John F on October 25, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Quick answer, YES. The law only requires a minimum one 30-minute meal break for any work between 5-10 hour shift. There is no law on maximum lunch break. If they stated this from the beginning and you are getting paid the actual 6 hours of work you did then they have done nothing wrong. You accepted the job. It is up to you to handle the schedule or get a different job.

      I am not a lawyer. This is my interpretation of the law as an HR person.

      • Eugene Lee on July 3, 2021 at 2:52 pm

        John F is correct. The only thing I would add is that, in some cases, if the employer requires you to take a lunch break that is more than 1 hour, that could constitute a “split shift” in which case the employee would be entitled to a “split shift premium”. However, that depends on how high the hourly rate is compared to minimum wage.

    • Mads on July 1, 2021 at 12:16 am

      I am working at a dog facility and am currently working a 10 hour shift 4 days a week (graveyard) our building is really understaffed for night shift which means even tho our contract states that we have a 1 hour PAID lunch, we are unable to take any breaks/lunch because we have maybe 1 or 2 people on the clock everynight and we have to be with the dogs at all times since they are uncaged and surrounded and roaming with many other dogs. If we take a lunch we cannot leave the premises or even leave dogs alone by themselves which means someone will have to eat their lunch or take a break while still being on the clock in the room with 30+ dogs

      • Eugene Lee on July 3, 2021 at 2:57 pm

        It sounds like you may have signed an on-duty meal consent. If so, you have agreed to work through your lunch, respectively. That having been said, you must still be permitted to take at least a 30-minute working lunch. If that is not happening, you should consider submitting a complaint to HR or your supervisor. The complaint should be in writing, e.g., email or text. You also have the right to withdraw your consent to the on-duty meal and demand a proper and uninterrupted meal break. To do that, you must submit the withdrawal of consent in writing to HR or to your supervisor. Remember, every situation is different, so definitely consider consulting with a lawyer before deciding on a course of action.

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