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Feb. 19, 2020

Rest Breaks Can Spark Wage and Hour Disputes

Hardworking California residents often treasure those times when they can take a break. Even their days off are usually filled with household and family obligations that take up their time. So when employers fail to provide the paid rest breaks required by law, it can quickly spark wage and hour disputes.

Of course, there are instances where employers are not required to provide the 10 consecutive minute breaks for every four hours worked, but even then, they are required to either compensate employees or let them have the breaks at a later time. Workers can take that rest break as long as they have worked a “major fraction” of the four hours, which could be as little as two hours. Even though the rule says that employees only need to be around two hours into a four hour period to get their break, if the shift is only 3.5 hours, no rest break is required.

Mothers who breastfeed their children may have additional rest periods to express their milk. These times may include the regular rest breaks mentioned above. Employers do not need to compensate lactating mothers for any time over any regularly scheduled breaks. For example, if it takes a mother 20 minutes to express her breast milk, the employer must only pay for 10 of those 20 minutes.

Enough exceptions to California’s rest break rule exist that employees wanting to lodge wage and hour disputes against their employers may want to make sure they have a claim first. Speaking with an employment law attorney to determine whether they are being denied the breaks they are entitled to by law. If it turns out that a claim would be the appropriate course of action, he or she can then assist with filing and pursuing it.



The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects employees from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment on the basis of their race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, martial status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or veteran or military status.

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