Is Your Employer Required To Give You Paid Rest Breaks?

Table of contents

Are you working more than four hours in a workday? In California your employer is required to give you a 10-minute uninterrupted paid rest break if you work more than four hours in one workday.

Pursuant to the Welfare Commission Wage Orders, Employers of California must provide a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked. Employers must treat rest periods as hours worked and must pay rest periods as time worked. Furthermore, Employers must relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time. In other words, your Employer may not require you to stay on work premises during your break. There are very limited exceptions to this such as urgent and safety-sensitive job positions.

If the employer fails to provide a timely rest period, or your rest break is interrupted, the employer shall pay the employee one hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided. If your employer fails to provide you with a one-hour’s pay you may file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or an experienced Los Angeles wage & hour attorney.

Hours on the Clock Rest Breaks
0:00 – 3:29 hrs 0
3:30 – 6:00 hrs 1
6:01 – 10:00 hrs 2
10:01 – 14:00 hrs 3
14:01 – 18:00 hrs 4
18:01 – 22:00 hrs 5

California Rest Break Requirements Summary

  • Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes that are uninterrupted.
  • Rest breaks must be paid.
  • If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to one rest break. If you work over 6 hours, you are entitled to a second rest break. If you work over 10 hours, you are entitled to a third rest break.
  • Rest breaks must to the extent possible be in the middle of each work period. If you work 8 hours or so, you should have a separate rest break both before and after your meal break.
  • Your boss may not require you to remain on work premises during your rest breaks.
  • You cannot be required to work during any required rest breaks. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest breaks provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.