California state laws provide many protections for employees. The only way that employees can ensure they’re getting what they’re due is to understand what the law says about their employment.
One of the things that California provides workers that some states don’t is mandatory rest periods. The number of these you receive is based on how many hours you work. Employers who fail to provide these rest periods can face considerable legal trouble.
What are your required rest breaks?
Employees must get a 10-minute rest break for every four hours they work. This should be given in the middle of the work period, if possible. A 10-minute break is required even if the employee works just the majority fraction of a four-hour period, so long as the total work period is 3.5 hours or longer.
This means that a person who works six hours should receive two breaks of 10 minutes each — one for the first four hours of work and one for the last two (because it is a majority fraction of a second four-hour work period).
During the rest periods, you can’t be required to stay at work or to remain in communication with work. Your employer also can’t count bathroom trips as your rest period. If an employer fails to provide you with the required rest breaks, they will have to pay the equivalent of one hour of pay for each day you don’t get the breaks.
What if your workplace rights are being violated?
Wage and hour violations shouldn’t go unchallenged. Any worker who isn’t getting the rest periods they’re due should find out what options they have for handling the situation.