Does an employer have to give me rest breaks?

While federal law does not require employers to provide workers with meal and rest breaks, California is one of the states that does require employers to provide these breaks and for workers to be paid for some of them.

Meal Breaks: Employers in California are required to offer 30-minute meal breaks after a worker has worked five hours in a workday. Meal breaks are unpaid, and a worker can waive their right to the break in writing. If an employee works for 10 hours, they are entitled to a second 30-minute meal break, but may only waive their right to it if their workday is under 12 hours. If the nature of an employee’s work prevents them from taking a break from all duties, an employer must provide an on-duty paid meal period. Otherwise, an employee must be relieved of all duties during the meal period.

Rest Breaks: California law also requires employers to provide 10-minute rest breaks. These breaks are paid, and employers must allow workers to take one for every four hours of work. Therefore, an employee working a standard 8 hours shift is entitled to two rest breaks and one meal period. Breaks are not required for workers whose total time worked amounts to less than 3 ½ hours.

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