Walnut Creek Meal & Rest Break Lawyer
If you are an hourly worker in California, state law requires your employer to give you a certain number of meal and rest breaks. These are not mere suggestions or guidelines. If you qualify for such breaks, your employer has no choice but to provide them. And if your employer ignores or skirts the law, you have the right to take legal action.
Indeed, the law actually entitles you to compensation for any missed meal or rest break periods. The Walnut Creek meal & rest break lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP, can help you pursue a claim against your employer. We work on a contingency basis, so you owe us nothing until we collect from your employer.
California Laws Governing Meal and Rest Breaks
The rules governing meal and rest breaks can seem somewhat complicated at first. Here is a basic overview. The first thing to note is that you must be a non-exempt employee, i.e., an hourly worker subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements. Next, you need to work a shift of at least 5 hours to qualify for a meal break. The meal break must be at least 30 minutes in length. You are allowed to voluntarily waive a meal break if you do not work more than 6 hours that day.
If you work more than 10 hours during a given shift, you are also entitled to a second meal break, which also must last at least 30 minutes. You can choose to waive this second break if your workday does not last more than 12 hours and you did not waive the first meal break. In other words, if you work 10 to 12 hours in a given day, you must take at least one meal break.
As for rest breaks, you are entitled to one 10-minute rest period for every 4 hours worked. So if you work a normal 8-hour shift, your employer must give you at least 20 minutes worth of rest breaks in addition to a 30-minute meal break.
During a meal or rest break, your employer cannot require you to work. Nor can they typically ask you to remain “on call” during these periods. However, if you choose to continue working through a scheduled meal or break period, your employer is not required to stop you. If for some reason the nature of your job requires you to remain in the workplace during a meal break, the employer must obtain a written waiver from you and pay you for your time during said meal break. Aside from this, an employer normally does not have to pay you while you are on a meal break–but they do need to pay you for any legally mandated 10-minute rest breaks.
Call Venardi Zurada Today If You Have Been Denied a Meal or Rest Break
If your employer denies you a legally required meal or rest break, you can sue them for damages. Under California law, an employer must pay an employee one additional hour of their normal rate of pay for each break that was improperly denied. Note that this is per-violation. So if your employer denied you a week’s worth of meal breaks, you would be entitled to a full hour of pay for each violation.
To learn more about your legal rights from an experienced Walnut Creek meal and rest break lawyer, contact Venardi Zurada, LLP today to schedule a free consultation.