Q.What is the present meal and rest period requirement? (CA)
A.In California, an employer must provide each employee with a 30 minute (minimum) meal period for every work period that exceeds 5 hours, but permits the employer and employee to agree to waive the meal period if the workday is not more than six hours. Employers must also provide a second 30 minute (minimum) meal period if the workday will exceed ten hours, but again permits the employer and employee to agree to waive this second meal period if: (a) the total workday is not more than twelve hours and (b) the first meal period was not waived.
In addition to meal periods, the employer must also provide each employee with a 10 minute rest period ("break") for every 4 hours worked, which should occur as near as possible to the middle of the work period.
For each workday an employer fails to provide an employee with the required meal or rest period, the employee is owed one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate. On-duty meal periods are permitted only in limited circumstances.
On October 22, 2008, the California Supreme Court granted review in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, and will decide whether the employer must either: (1) provide its employees with the opportunity to take meal and rest breaks, or (2) require and ensure their employees take their meal and rest breaks.