What are the rest/meal/overtime laws in California?
There are specific rest/meal/overtime laws in California that are protected under the California Labor Code. Labor Code Section 512 states that if an employee works for more than five hours per day, the employer must provide the employee with a meal break of at least thirty minutes. However, it is important to note that if the employee works six hours or less per day, then the employee and employer must communicate to one another and come to an agreement regarding whether or not they want to waive the employee’s meal break period. If the employee works more than ten hours per day, then the employee must have a second meal break of at least thirty minutes. The only exception to this rule would be if the employee worked no more than twelve total hours, then the employee and employer must decide whether or not this second meal break should be waived (only if the first meal break was not previously waived). Whether or not the employee is paid during a meal break depends on whether or not the employee’s breaks are “on duty” or “off duty” (Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) (ca.gov)).
In regards to rest periods, the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders specifies that in California, employers must allow employees to have paid rest periods that are ten minutes long for every four hours worked. The rest period should be in the middle of the four-hour work period. If an employer denies his or her employees of their rest periods, then the employer must pay the employee for one hour of the employer’s pay rate for each day of work that the employee is denied his or her rest period. If the employer does not compensate the employee, then the employee could file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. (Assistance for employees and employers: Answering your questions (ca.gov)).
Further, there are certain regulations and requirements in California under the California Labor Code if an employee works overtime. If a non-exempt employee works more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week, then the employer must pay the employee one and one-half times his or her regulated rate of pay for any hours overtime (any hours after eight hours that the employee has worked per day or any hours after forty hours that the employee has worked in a workweek). If an employee is not receiving compensation for working overtime, then the employee could file a wage and hour violation claim. There are three ways an employee could file a wage and hour claim. The first way is that the employee could file a claim with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour division. The second way is that the employee could file a claim with the court. The third way is that the employee could file a claim with the California Department of Industrial Relations, also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office. In order to file this claim, the employee needs to provide the necessary information, such as the company’s name, the manager of the company, the employee’s role at the company, the location of the company, and how the employee was paid (via check or cash) (Wage & Overtime Lawyer – Miracle Mile Law Group).