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Joining 1st break with lunch break

In California is there anything that says that you cannot allow in an 8hr shift the 1st rest break and lunch period to be joined?

The DLSE or Division of Labor Standards Enforcement has consistently upheld that giving a longer lunch break does not compensate for denying the employee rest breaks.

California law requires that the employee be given a 10-minute rest break, free of all work duties, at approximately the mid-point of each 4 hour work segment or major portion thereof.  Example: Sara works from 8 am to 4:30 pm, with a 30-minute lunch at 12 noon. Sara is entitled to a 10 minute rest break at about 10 am and again at about 2:30 pm.

Giving an employee a longer lunch break is legal, but it does not fulfill the legal requirement for the rest breaks. Example: Todd works the same hours as Sara. Todd takes a 40-minute lunch break at 12 noon and a 10 minute rest break at 2:30. Todd is working from 4 hours from 8 am to 12 noon without a rest break. Todds employer is in violation of the law, even if this is Todds preferred break schedule.

The penalties for an employer who allows workers to miss a break are severe. In California, any employee who misses one or more rest or meal breaks is entitled to an additional hours pay. In the example above, Todd would be entitled to an additional hour of pay, because he has been deprived of his rest breaks.

California law permits an employee to voluntarily waive the meal breaks in writing, but not the rest breaks.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 27th, 2010 at 9:48 am and is filed under
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5 Responses to “Joining 1st break with lunch break”

  1. » Joining 1st break with lunch break Human Resource Blog « Human Resources 123 Says:

    [...] the original post here: » Joining 1st break with lunch break Human Resource Blog Comments [...]

  2. michael Says:

    does the same law hold in New York State?

  3. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Michael! No, this rule does not apply in New York, because New York does not have any rest break law for employees in general industry. The employer is not obligated to give short rest breaks to an employee. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  4. Lee Says:

    What about the law in Oklahoma?

  5. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Lee! Oklahoma has no meal break or rest break laws on the state level for employees in general industry. However, there is never a requirement that an employer must allow the employee to take alonger break. In fact, an Oklahoma employer could require employees to work without any meal or rest breaks at all.

    OSHA worker safety standards require that employees be allowed to use the toilet when nature calls.

    An Oklahoma employer can give unpaid meal breaks to an employee, and discipline or termnate any employee who does not take one — but the employer is not required to give such breaks.

    There is also no requirement that an employee in Oklahoma must be allowed to go home early if the employee voluntarily skips a meal break. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

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