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Are Meal Break Waivers Legal In California?

Meal Break Laws And Disputes As Experienced By Los Angeles Employment Lawyers

Qualified employees are entitled to meal and rest breaks for working long hours. If they skip these breaks, employers will need to pay them extra as a penalty.

However, you might have heard of instances where employees don't have scheduled breaks. So what's that all about?

The simple answer is: employees and employers need to mutually consent to waive meal breaks.

So, is it legal? What if your boss asks you to skip your meal break? Here's what our prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyers have to say about waiving your meal breaks in California:

meal break waiver california

Can I Waive My Lunch Break In California?

There are specific policies regarding the waiving of meal breaks in California. This includes:

  • If you worked less than 6 hours: you can skip your meal break.

  • If you worked more than 6 hours: you can waive your meal break, but it has to be agreed upon between you and your employer.

  • If you work less than 12 hours and did not waive your first break: you may waive your second 30-minute break, and it should mutually be consented to between you and your employer.

  • If you cannot be relieved of your duty: you could take a paid meal break while on duty.

Any other scenario cannot be legally waived, so your employer needs to pay you based on the rate discussed earlier.

If you're getting forced to take on duty means without pay, not given breaks despite being eligible for them, or weren't paid for being made to skip meals, contact a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer ASAP.

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Which California Employees Are Entitled To Meal And Rest Periods?

In California employment law, non-exempt workers are entitled to meal and rest breaks. However, exempt employees may only avail of the meal break but not rest breaks.

An experienced Los Angeles Employment Lawyer will tell you how vital employee classification is in labor law disputes. This is especially crucial for unpaid wages and breaks, as different categories qualify for various benefits.

What Are The Meal And Rest Break Requirements In California?

Meal and rest breaks are specific periods in a work day that allow a California employee to temporarily relinquish work responsibilities, often with a minimum length of time.

According to California law, qualified employees are entitled to the following:

  • Most employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break if they are working longer than 5 hours

  • At least one paid 10-minute rest period if they work at least 3.5 hours

  • A second paid 10-minute break if they work at least 6 hours.

Your Los Angeles Employment Lawyer will look at the agreements made with your boss, check your eligibility for rest and meal breaks, and compile evidence to help you recover the lost wages you are entitled to.

What Happens To Employers Who Don't Give Meal Breaks In California?

Employees are entitled to an additional hour of pay for each day that an employer violates the law by refusing to provide them with the mandatory meal periods.

Employees are entitled to one hour of pay at the regular rate if they skip a rest break. The employee's subsequent paycheck from the employer must cover this lost break. Remember that under California law, employees are entitled to two hours of pay if they skip a meal break and a rest period on the same day.

To recover these penalties, a prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to help you build a solid case.

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