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. rainy on January 3, 2023 at 12:24 am

    currently this is in effect in UCLA MEDICAL CENTER. I worked at CEDARS SINAI MEDICAL CENTER and we dont follow this yet.

  2. MURB on December 17, 2022 at 8:40 am

    How does this law apply to California based airline pilots who fly flights longer than 5 hours? It’s not possible to be free of responsibility in a 2-pilot crew without compromising safety on a flight to Hawaii.

  3. Tora on December 14, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Does the employer still pay the meal premium even if the employee waives the lunch break?

  4. Jay m on December 8, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Hello can anyone help me? I’m working 6 days out of the week and I’m being told I need to take a hour lunch break regardless if I’m working under 8 hours in the day. On normal shift i work 7 hours and 15 min in a day. My question is the 1 hr lunch mandatory? I was told it was since i work six days yet those six days barely go over 40 hours a week.

    • Dan L. on December 17, 2022 at 12:21 pm

      If it’s your company policy to take a one hour meal break then it is perfectly legal. The legal requirement is a minimum of 30 minutes. You may want to ask if you can adjust your schedule since your hours are being shorted.

    • Teresa on December 24, 2022 at 8:15 am

      I would be questioning if it is legal to not give you a minimum of 2 days per week off?

  5. Mayra on December 3, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    Is it true if the employer has less that 25 people working he can get away with not paying minimum wage and shortening breaks and lunch periods due to “business needs”?

  6. deb on December 1, 2022 at 12:22 pm

    for some reason my chat ended. my Q is: Can our employer extend our working hours to accommodate the 2nd 30min rest break? I currently work a 12.5 hour shift. 12 hours are paid and the .5 is spent giving report which is unpaid. Our employer stated that if we don’t wave the 2nd 30min meal break it could extend our shift from 12.5 to 13 hours to make up the 2nd 30 min meal break they have to provide. Is this correct?

  7. Kevin S on November 30, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    Mandatory Clock Outs for rest breaks

    Hello, I am wondering if my employer can make a clock in and out mandatory for 10-minute breaks. I am being disciplined for failure to clock out for my breaks(not lunch, just 10 minute breaks). Of this new policy, I have had to extend my hours sometimes because I forget to clock back in from my 10, which is now unpaid for every minute after my 10. My employer has a strict “work 8 hours” policy, which is why they are disciplining me for this.

    • Judy on December 28, 2022 at 8:52 pm

      They can not by law have you clicking out for your 10 min breaks. It’s suppose to be paid. The additional work you have to do has to be paid as well as you are still working.

  8. Moni on November 25, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    Can my manager wait outside the break room and time my breaks and lunch?

    • emily on November 30, 2022 at 10:30 am

      yes, thats fine as long as they are giving you exactly your breaks and lunches.

  9. Anteneh on November 23, 2022 at 11:45 am

    I work 12 hrs shift am I suppose to have 2 meal breaks? how about rest breaks?

    • emily on November 30, 2022 at 10:32 am

      you need to take 3 paid 10-minute uninterrupted rest breaks and 2 unpaid 30-minute uninterrupted meal breaks.

    • Judy on December 28, 2022 at 8:53 pm

      California Rest Break Law Chart
      Hours on the Clock
      Rest Breaks
      0 – 3:29 hrs
      3:30 – 6 hrs
      6:01 – 10 hrs
      10:01 – 14 hrs
      14:01 – 18 hrs
      18:01 – 22 hrs
      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.

  10. Kevin on November 22, 2022 at 7:22 pm

    Hello 👋 I work at a university. I am in a union. My shift is from 2pm-10:30pm. Everyday I take my break at 7:30 or 8:00. I asked my boss why I am not taking my break before my 5th hour and he claims that California law is 6 hours before a meal break. Even when the work flow is slow I am told to take my break no earlier than 7:30. Is this legal?

    • Jessica on December 30, 2022 at 3:07 am

      He’s definitely wrong. Go on the .gov website and read the meal break laws. 6 hrs or more on the shift, your lunch has to be before the 5th hour otherwise it’s late and he owes you an hour of pay.

  11. B. Harris on November 15, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    Hi, I work 16 hours at the hospital and often are short staffed and can’t take a break. They are only paying us for one missed meal vs two, is this legal?

  12. J.Peterson on November 3, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    My employer is implementing a new meal period.. We are DOT drivers and they want us to come in 30 min before our normal start time, do our pre trip inspection which is 15 min then immediately clock out for lunch after 15 minutes unless we start our shift before 4:00am then lunch is not required.. Then go all day possibly 10-12 hours of work! I will add we currently do not take a lunch by our choice.
    Is this legal for them to implement?

  13. Jessica Whitmore on October 31, 2022 at 10:26 am

    I worked an employer event that was six hours long. I was also paid an additional hour for travel time. With the travel time it was a 7 hour shift. Am I required to take a lunch because of this?

    • Eugene Lee on November 3, 2022 at 11:33 pm

      In a word, yes.

      • Rebecca Ann on January 31, 2023 at 3:11 pm

        If I am a few minutes late clocking out for lunch does my company have to pay me the late meal period penalty? This was my fault, not theirs, I got caught up in work and lost track of the time.

  14. Chris on October 25, 2022 at 10:30 am

    I work 7a-7p and we are being asked to take breaks as follows:
    1st break: 8:10
    Lunch: 10-10:30
    2nd break 1:30
    3rd break: 3
    Is this legal?

    • Eugene Lee on October 25, 2022 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Chris, that looks legal to me. Except for one thing. You’re missing your second 30-minute lunch. Unless you have a 2d meal break waiver, that is a violation.

      • Brenda on November 4, 2022 at 3:46 pm

        Hello, my brother is currently employed from 9-6, but is not being allowed to take a lunch until about 4pm every day and his breaks are constantly being denied or interrupted. What can he do?

        • emily on November 30, 2022 at 10:34 am

          It is illegal to deny/interrupt breaks and taking lunches past the 5th hour. They should take legal action

      • Tim on November 9, 2022 at 3:29 pm

        And what time should the second lunch be and hoe close can they make u take them together I was thinking 3 to 4 hours after the first lunch . And Aslo can u combined lunch and a break my just is trying to combined a lunch with my break

  15. Higgins on October 8, 2022 at 2:14 pm

    My employer is telling us only 2 breaks and a lunch for 8hrs and 3 breaks and a lunch if you waive your lunch or 2 breaks and 2 lunches if you don’t. Starting time: 2:30pm; clock out time: 3am (waive lunch) 3:30am (non-waived lunch)

    • Amir Hanna on October 24, 2022 at 2:15 pm

      My boss is trying to make me take an hour lunch but I only work an 8 hour shift. Is this legal? Becuz with the lunch included I only get 7 hours of work per day now. Can I continue taking 30 mins meal breaks?

      • Eugene Lee on October 25, 2022 at 3:02 pm

        The employer has the right to set your daily work schedule. That includes deciding when you take your breaks. You can certainly ask your employer to reduce your lunch break from 1 hour to 30 minutes, but that would be up to your employer to decide. If you have a written employment agreement, a policy, a union contract, or something that says otherwise, that would of course change the answer.

  16. Jill on September 22, 2022 at 6:48 pm

    Is there a certain hour (3rd – 5th?) when you’re to take your 30 minute break, or is anytime before your 5th hour ok?

    • emily on November 30, 2022 at 10:28 am

      it has to be before you hit your 5th hour at work. It cannot be at your fifth hour, very important is is before

  17. Sam on September 21, 2022 at 10:38 am


    I have an 8 hour shift that starts at 6am. I’d prefer to have my lunch at 12, but my employer says I have to take it at 11 so I’m within 5 hours.

    They’d be fine with 12 if it wasn’t for the law. Is there anything I and they could do so I could do it at 12?

    • emily on November 30, 2022 at 10:42 am

      no it has to be before your 5th hour. that means i cannot be at exactly the 5th hour or else its a lunch violation,. Maybe take it at 11:30a.

  18. Sylvia Garcia on September 13, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    What if your employer isn’t denying you a break, however you don’t take one, because it’s unavailable due to heavy workflow.

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 10:58 pm

      You need to bring it up with your supervisor and/or HR – make sure it is in writing. If they don’t fix the problem, consider filing a wage claim.

  19. Cynthia on September 13, 2022 at 8:51 am

    What if an employee works two 4 hour shifts in 24hours. can they just take a break during each shift? Or are they required to take a lunch?

    For Example:

    EE worked 0000-400
    went home to rest
    returned 2000-2400

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:00 pm

      What you have described is a split shift. The 16 hours in the middle would be your “meal break”. You still would need to get two rest breaks though.

  20. Purvi Shah on September 7, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    if an employee works 20 hour shift, how long of a break is required before they start another 8hr shift

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:03 pm

      I’m only aware of the 1 day of rest in 7 rule. In any 7-day workweek, you must be allowed at least one full day of rest. California Labor Code section 551 provides that “[e]very person employed in any occupation of labor is entitled to one day’s rest therefrom in seven.” Labor Code section 552, entitled “Maximum consecutive working days,” provides that “[n]o employer of labor shall cause his employees to work more than six days in seven”

  21. Tommy on September 6, 2022 at 11:40 pm

    For example My schedule began at 7am and 30 minutes break start at 10:30am. And after 11am all the way work till 4:30pm. Dose that make sense?

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:04 pm

      If I understand correctly, you work from 7 am to 4:30 pm, with a lunch break from 10:30 am to 11 am. There would be no violation in this scenario.

      • Yuna Y. Pak on September 20, 2022 at 3:19 pm

        11 to 4:30 is more than 5 hours..?

        • Eugene Lee on September 20, 2022 at 5:12 pm

          You only get a second meal break if you work over 10 hours in total for the shift

    • Rupi on December 23, 2022 at 9:07 pm

      Hi! I work 9-3:30pm I don’t really care for a lunch but I do take 30 mins after the 5th hour and i have signed the employee handbook that I am ok with it. Is that a violation?

  22. Cinthya on September 5, 2022 at 4:14 pm

    For any employee that requires a 2nd or 3rd lunch, is there a timeframe as to when they are supposed to take it?

    For Example, for an employee that worked 6:00AM-6:30PM, first lunch is taken between the 4th and 5th hour from their start time. Is there a time frame of when the second lunch should be taken so that there are no penalties?

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:07 pm

      Yes – second lunch must be taken before the end of the 10th hour. Third lunch must be taken before the end of the 15th hour. And so on.

      • Oscar on September 29, 2022 at 2:02 am

        What if you only take one 30 min lunch (unpaid) and three 10 minute breaks( paid) during a shift that started at 11am and clocked out/ ended at 12:30 am. Was I required to take a second lunch or could I have waived it? And if I worked for said time could my employer change it to say otherwise?

  23. Fresno County DSS Worker on September 1, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    I work for Fresno County. I’m a Case Manager. Start my shift at 8:00. My breaks are at 10:30 to 10:45. My Supervisor is aware of this. Another Program Manger had a Zoom Meeting that started at 10:00 am. I seen a client just before 9:00 am. I also e-mailed my Supervisor at 9:00 am that I had an appointment with Personnel at 10:00 AM as I was going on Leave of Absence. I returned to my desk at 10:40 am. My Supervisor called me at 10:41 am and told me to attend the meeting and I did at 10:42 am. My Supervisor later reprimanded me for not rescheduling my meeting with personnel. She also wrote “break times are County Paid times and may not be possible during periods of unusually heavy workloads or staffing shortages” I guess until they hire more people I can’t get any more breaks maybe ……

  24. Stacy Baker on September 1, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    My husband was hired on at our local school district as an all in one doing Custodial/Janitorial/Grounds Keeper/Maintenance/Bus Driver. They told him he would be working from 2pm-10pm. Recently they have made some changes and told him his schedule would be as such. He would work 7am-8am picking up a few students from their homes and dropping them off at school then he would go back home. He would then work 11am-12pm picking the kids up from school and dropping them back off at home. He would then go back home until 1pm where he would then work 1pm-7:30pm (With no lunch break). To me, I honestly don’t believe this is right as well as it makes for an extremely long day. His employer is just paying him for an 8hour day. It was always my understanding a shift like this would be considered a ‘Split Shift” and should be compensated as such. Does this shift qualify for a split shift? Should he also be given a meal break?

  25. Cecilia on August 29, 2022 at 4:26 pm

    For an 8 hour shift employee, if employee takes 30min meal break at the end of the shift (ie clock out half an hour prior to departure for meal, then clock back in after half hour, then depart.
    Is there any violations / concerns to California labor law on meal time.
    Should the meal time be taken prior to the end of 5th hours, unless there is unexpected situations.

    • Ben on September 1, 2022 at 2:17 am

      Are you from dough zone ? Because dough zone has a lot of illegal things going on

      • Sarah on October 5, 2022 at 9:40 pm

        My employer has employees clock in and immediately take a 30 minute break. Is there any violation here

        • Gregg on November 25, 2022 at 9:33 pm

          Really good question, Love to hear an expert answer this. Seems wrong on the face of it.

          Some employers are either incompetent or knowingly exploiting staff because it fits their business needs.

    • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:10 pm

      Meal breaks must be permitted to start before the end of the fifth hour into the shift. Otherwise, that would be a late lunching violation.

      • Nicole on October 19, 2022 at 3:44 pm

        In the late lunch violation, does the employer owe the employee any extra pay or anything? For example, if a Call Center person has a scheduled lunch break to start before the 5th hour in their day, but they get stuck on the phone for past the 5th hour in their day and their lunch is rescheduled to start later, is there anything wrong there?

        • Eugene Lee on October 19, 2022 at 3:46 pm

          Yes, that would be a late lunch. The employee should bring that up with management. If they don’t fix it, the employee should consider filing a wage claim for the meal break penalties that are owed to them.

  26. Leia on August 28, 2022 at 10:07 pm

    Can my employer make me take an unpaid 30 minute lunch break when i’m only on the clock for 4.5-4.75 hours?

    • Eugene Lee on August 28, 2022 at 10:09 pm

      Yes, the employer has the discretion to set your work and break schedule. That includes scheduling a lunch break even when you work less than 5 hours. Your scenario did not include this, but if the meal break exceeds 1 hour, that could constitute a split shift violation.

  27. West on August 28, 2022 at 10:48 am

    If I work a 10 hour shift, but have more then an hour worth of downtime through the day (over 30 min at a time) with no customers. Where I can just sit and relax in the store, but have to be ready if a guest comes in. Does this qualify as break periods? My employer doesnt require me to clock out for it, but I cant close up and leave during my shift.

    • Eugene Lee on August 28, 2022 at 10:50 am

      No, those do not qualify for rest breaks. For a rest break, you need to be allowed to leave the store for net 10 minutes, without interruption. There would need to be someone to relieve you, or you would have to be allowed to lock up the store.

  28. Melody s on August 24, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    My boss tries to have me take my last rest break 30 mins before clocking out. Is that ok? I am off at 5pm and she came to give me my break at 4:56 today. And said i would just have to stay past 5 to be able to take my break. I said no, because i had some where to be and i left and marked it down as a missed break on our sign in sheet.

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:23 pm

      Rest breaks must be as close to the middle of each work period as is reasonably possible. I think providing your rest break 4 minutes before the end of your shift would probably be deemed a denied rest break. But the answer really depends on the specific facts of your situation.

  29. gabriel on August 23, 2022 at 1:12 pm

    my girlfriend works 6 hours a day everyday and her job doesnt allow here to get even a 5 minute break. Her boss tells her that is becasue she is the only person working cash register. Its a small buisness where to run perfectly they only need a cook and a person on cash register, and she does cash register and she has worked there for the passed 15 months and they dont allow her to take a break.

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:23 pm

      That sounds like denial of breaks to me.

      • Linda on September 3, 2022 at 6:57 pm

        I clocked out for my lunch break after 5 hours and ONE MINUTE. I was called to the office, had to sign something and was told I VIOLATED because I was ONE MINUTE after 5 hours and would be “let go” if it happened again. Are the allowed to do that???

        • A.S. on September 7, 2022 at 6:27 pm

          No, I do not believe so. And you can respond by asking if that was a threat.
          I believe you have a 3-5 minute “grace period for any clock-in and clock-out but for breaks, just get to the clock or computer to clock back in at least 3 minuted before your clock in and avoid any delay. And do not work until you clock in. Did you receive a Handbook? Because if you did not, they are in violation of not providing one. I would ask to speak to your manager and express your feelings about the lack of Handbook was wrong on their part and one-minute late is extreme and you feel you are being threatened and ask him/her what they intend to do to resolve these issues. Remember, you have the power and law on your side. If you get terminated, they have 72 hours by law to issue you your last paycheck, Do not sign anything.They cannot make you sign anything to receive it and if they threaten you they will not give it, tell them you will be reporting them to the Labor Board. Clock-out and leave. Make sure you have your first and last dates of employment and file for unemployment. Then rate them on the BBB. I cannot stand arrogant employers who think they can bully people. Hope this helps. And I would tell them this: You do not need to speak to me that way. We are adults and you can communicate with me like an adult if you choose. I wish to resolve any issues. What would you like to do?” And see what they say. Most-likely they will stare in blank disbelief that you stood up to them, were calm and put the ball in their court. And if it is like this now, then I would look to get out and find a better job with better people if you can. If you have been there a long time and have a trusted friend employee, ask for them to be your reference. I speak from experience.

        • Eugene Lee on September 19, 2022 at 11:08 pm

          In a word, “yes”. The employer has the right to set your work schedule, which includes your break schedule. If you fail to comply with their schedule, they have to right to discipline you, including termination. The answer may change if you have a written contract with the employer, there is a union collective bargaining agreement, there is a written policy that says otherwise, etc.

  30. Hee Park on August 21, 2022 at 7:39 am

    Can I have a 10 minute break even though there is a 2 hour break between my work period, from 10am to 9pm? I work at a restaurant.

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:26 pm

      That 2 hour break could be a violation in and of itself; namely, a split shift violation. Regarding the 10 minute break, if you work 10 am to 9 pm, even with a 2 hour meal break, you are still entitled to two separate 10-minute paid rest breaks. Those should be permitted in the middle of the first pre-lunch work period, and in the middle of the second post-lunch work period.

  31. Mike on August 19, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    Do I receive a 2nd lunch if I work 2 hours and receive a 30 minute lunch and work 5 hours straight after do I receive a second lunch

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

      No. You get a second lunch only if you work a total of over 10 hours in the work day. In your case, you only worked 7 hours.

  32. M on August 17, 2022 at 10:37 pm

    If I work 7 and a half hours, am I entitled to two breaks or one?

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

      You would be entitled to 1 30-minute unpaid meal break and 2 10-minute paid rest breaks.

  33. Rose on August 16, 2022 at 6:00 am

    I work a 10 hour shift. I’m being told that I do not get a missed meal because “I have 10 hours to take my 30 min break. We were told that we all had to take our lunch by the fifth hour of shift, but now I am being told differently. I look at my timecard, day of, and it shows the extra hour pay, if I have gone late, but next day it had disappeared. Does this sound right?

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:29 pm

      I’m not sure I understand your question. Are you saying they paid you missed meal break premium and then took it away from you?

  34. Jay on August 11, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    Is it illegal for your employer to make you take a lunch break as soon as you clock in

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:32 pm

      The caselaw is not clear about this, but I believe that is arguably a violation of the law. The California Supreme Court has stated that in a typical 8-hour shift, there should be a rest break both before and after the lunch break. In your situation, that is not happening.

  35. Kimberley on August 8, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    my employer charges 20 dollars per missed punch on your paycheck. can they do that?

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:34 pm

      I doubt that is legal. That sounds like illegal deduction under Labor Code section 221. However, I would need to know more to be sure.

  36. Peter Valdez on August 6, 2022 at 9:42 pm

    My wife works 6 hours at a public school and she has been told no breaks and an unpaid 30 minute lunch. This can’t be correct?

    • Joe Mammas Teacher on December 17, 2022 at 2:26 am

      Same here in Texas. I haven’t been getting a lunch and somehow this is normal campus culture. I plan on quitting at the end of the year and reporting them to the state. She should report this too. You guys have better, enforceable laws and if she hasn’t joined a union, she needs to.

      Not getting restroom breaks and not getting a chunk of time midday where you can rest for a single moment is NOT OKAY. We are humans, not robots. Being docked for taking a lunch is one of the dumbest things capitalism came up with other than oppressing the working class.

      Sadly, the laws are tougher when it comes to salaried employees. In my state, we have no real recourse to fight it but I think you guys could pull up laws pertaining to either salaried/exempt employees or teacher labor laws and standards for California.

      If she is not salaried, then they actually can dock her pay for lunch, but they would be breaking the law by not allowing the other breaks.

      Having said that, I’ve been teaching 13 years and almost never have I gotten *any* breaks mandated by law. It’s the culture to proudly work yourself to an early death forgoing breaks “for the kids.” NO. If she isn’t given the breaks, she needs to *take* them. Have her talk to another educator in a neighboring classroom and set up a daily recurring relief for them both where they cover for one another.

      Additionally, I recommend reading through the district handbook as well as her contract. Save copies of *everything.* If she doesn’t have a contract, then see if she can look over a colleague’s. What does it say in either one of those about pay/breaks?

      Lastly, if she is hourly (and possibly even salary but it’s less likely) then they are within their rights to dock her pay for lunch. If she is salary, then it’s not as clearly defined, but it’s a really crap thing to do and there are better schools out there. She needs to move schools to a better environment.

      They are breaking the law by not allowing her the other paid breaks. That is something I would contact a union and a lawyer about. Time theft works both ways and laws above clearly state she should receive an uninterrupted, paid 10 minute break during her shift.

      My state has laws and educator standards that state they can take away our breaks or planning periods, but only RARELY in the event of an emergency. It must NOT be the norm/regular occurrence. She needs to deep dive on the laws, read her handbook/contract, contact everyone she can to report them, call payroll to sort the lunch thing if salaried, and spend time working on going to a better place. Wishing you guys the best of luck with this.

  37. Hippygirl on August 5, 2022 at 2:07 pm

    I work at daycare I don’t get 10 min breaks only 30 min lunch but I work 8 hours is that correct I thought I should get morning 10 break an hour lunch and 10 min afternoon break

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      You should be getting two 10-minute paid rest breaks, one before lunch, the other after lunch.

  38. Maria on August 5, 2022 at 6:54 am

    I work a split shift 4.5 hours/ split for 2.5 hours and then back to work for 3.5 hours. Am I entitle yo a break (10-15 mins) for my last half (3.5 hrs)?

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:36 pm

      First of all, that could be a violation of the split shift laws. I would need to know more to be sure. Second, yes, you are entitled to two 10-minute paid rest breaks, because your work shift was 6 hours.

  39. Kimberly Schwartz on August 4, 2022 at 2:10 pm

    As a full time employee who accrues sick leave…. If I have a doctors appointment am I able to use my 30 minute lunch for the first part of my appointment and sl for the remaining time? If I asked my supervisor to adjust my time to reflect my lunch would that be considered reasonable? Or is this something I’m not legally able to do?

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:38 pm

      I don’t think the law prohibits what you are suggesting; however, your employer usually has the right to set your work schedule and break schedule. So I believe ultimately, it is up to your employer whether to allow you to basically schedule a lunch break together personal time off for a doctor’s appointment. You might want to review your employee manual or ask HR.

  40. Kat on August 3, 2022 at 10:24 am

    I recently received a notice that my employer is being sued by a former employee due to rest and meal breaks as well as other pay issues. I usually never take my meal break on time or before my fifth hour. As of January of this year I had only become aware that if I was not adding an additional code to my time card I wasn’t getting paid the additional hour for not taking my meal break on time. So I hadn’t been doing this for the entire year before since being hired. When brought up to my manager it was stated I would be unable to back track previous time cards and they would be left unpaid. Management stated HR should’ve made me aware upon hire but from what I remember I was never told I needed to add a code to my time card for each day this occurred. Now my question is they have given us this notice to agree and sign the letter and be sent a settlement if we agree to not proceed with a claim against them. Would I have any benefit to this?

    • Eugene Lee on August 27, 2022 at 5:39 pm

      I would strong suggest speaking with a lawyer before signing any document like that. I believe you might have late break claims based on your scenario. You are welcome to give us a call at 213-992-3299 to discuss this further.

    • Jack leon on November 9, 2022 at 7:18 am

      I work 7-8 hour shifts. They have a rule set up that we can’t take meal breaks from 11:30 – 2:00 so i always ended up taking my meal break at 2 or 2:30 and i left at 3 or 4 depending on the schedule. Is that legal?

  41. Anastacia on August 2, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I am a non-exempt part time employee at a warehouse. I work 6.5 hours. I am provided a 30 minute unpaid lunch but not any paid breaks. Is this legal? I am under the impression California law requires at least a 30 minute unpaid lunch and a 10 minute paid break if working for at least 6 hours…

    • Crystal on August 3, 2022 at 12:27 am

      You are entitled to a 30 minute unpaid lunch and a 10 minute paid break

  42. Monica on August 1, 2022 at 12:21 am

    I just started working at a school that is pithing the LAUSD. I am an office technician we take our lunch put we eat from our desk. If a parent comes in we are supposed to stop eating and help the parents. We are not allowed to move from our desks when we are in lunch. Is my employer able to do this. I also do not get my 2 15 minute breaks. I work from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm Full time.

    • Crystal on August 3, 2022 at 12:32 am

      Probably not. In most cases, you cannot be forced to remain at work or in the work area, or to do work during your luch break. You are entitled to 2 10 minute paid breaks. If your employer has it as 15 minute breaks, you are entitled to those and they cannot force or discourage you from taking them.

  43. Jackie on July 27, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Can an employer schedule the 10- minute rest breaks as they go meal breaks

  44. Reyna on July 27, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    Is it true that companies with less than 15 employees are NOT required to provide the same break time requirements?

  45. Employee on July 26, 2022 at 11:05 am

    My employee stipulates that we may only take breaks in a “designated break area”. Is the transit time to the break area added to my break time? That is, if it takes 2 minutes to walk to the break area from my work area, say, am I entitled to return to my work site14 minutes after leaving it for my 10 minute breaks and 34 minutes after leaving it for my meal breaks?

    • Employee on July 26, 2022 at 11:10 am

      Correction: I meant: “My employer stipulates that employees may only …”

  46. Mary on July 26, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Hello- We have employees working 12 hour shifts. Our practice is to have them take the second lunch as a standard which must be taken before the end of the 10th hour. Otherwise, it would be a late lunch violation which would trigger the 1 hour penalty. When setting up the HRIS to flag this, would it be set to flag at 9:59 or 10:01 or 11:01 mark? Thank you!

  47. Diana on July 23, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    I work 5.5 hours on the clock and only get 1 10 min break. Is this legal?

    • Eugene Lee on July 25, 2022 at 10:25 pm

      Barring certain exceptions, no that isn’t legal. You should also be getting a 30 minute unpaid, uninterrupted, duty-free meal break where you are allowed to leave the site and do what you want during those 30 minutes.

    • Crystal on August 3, 2022 at 12:35 am

      You are entitled to an unpaid 30 minute break, but do not have to take one if you work under 6 hours. However, this cannot be forced on you. It has to be something you decide for yourself and discuss with management.

  48. Jack Lenz on July 20, 2022 at 5:12 pm

    If you need a restroom break, do you have to wait for your 10minute break?

    • Eugene Lee on July 25, 2022 at 10:26 pm

      No. Restroom breaks are a health and safety issue and should be allowed without restrictions. They do NOT count toward your paid 10-minute rest breaks.

  49. Sherry on July 20, 2022 at 11:07 am

    At my job we are required to take lunch after been there 3 hours on 12 hours shift for 30 minutes is this a requirement. I thought after 5 hours lunch is required after taking lunch we there 9 hours with 3 ten min break

    • Luciano on July 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm

      Where do you work??? Sounds like a dream job

    • Eugene Lee on July 25, 2022 at 10:28 pm

      If you work a 12-hour shift, you should also be provided not one, but TWO, 30-minute meal breaks. You earn the second meal break once your shift goes over 10 hours. There are exceptions of course. This also assumes you did not agree with your employer to waive or skip your second meal break.

  50. Yanet Flores on July 16, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Am I entitled to a 30 minutes lunch and a 10 minutes break if I work only 7 hours. My boss says on a 7 hours shift, I only get a 30 minutes lunch. Is that true?

    • Eugene Lee on July 25, 2022 at 10:29 pm

      No, your employer is wrong. If you work a 7 hour shift, you are supposed to receive one unpaid 30-minute meal break and two paid 10-minute rest breaks. Unlike meal breaks, rest breaks cannot be waived.

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