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What is the rest period requirement in California?

Workers in California are afforded a number of rights, many of which employees are unaware of. However, simply because they may not know about them does not mean that they should not be given what they are guaranteed under the law. This includes minimum wage and freedom from sexual harassment and discrimination. But, as we have discussed previously on this blog, it can also mean being provided a place to breastfeed and, for agricultural workers, having access to fresh, cool water.

Another federally mandated right is the right to paid rest periods. Many people think of these as “breaks,” but not all individuals take them. However, under the law, most workers in California are entitled to a 10-minute long rest period after they have worked for four hours, or a significant portion of that four hours. These breaks must be paid. Those who work less than three-and-a-half hours are not provided with this right.

There are limits to this right, though. For example, some household workers, sheepherders, and professional actors are excluded from this provision. Also, these breaks are only to be given when reasonable. Therefore, if a store suddenly becomes busy and a manager denies a break request, they may be justified in doing so. Also, some employers may get around the rest period requirement by demonstrating that compliance with the regulation would create an undue hardship or it would seriously affect their employees’ comfort or welfare.

This regulation is just one of the many that apply to California workers. Those individuals who are denied their rights, whether it be in the form of a denied rest period, unpaid overtime, or failure to pay minimum wage, should consider discussing their case with an experienced employment law attorney. They may be able to successfully assist with a lawsuit that results in the recovery of compensation for damages.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “Minimum Paid Rest Period Requirements Under State Law for Adult Employees in Private Sector,” accessed on April 29, 2017


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