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breakroom law in california

We have a kitchen with sink, refrigerator and a table with 2 chairs. Can that be considering our break room? Is that certain law for break rooms in California? Are we required to have a bigger break room if we have more employees?

This depends on a few factors: Are employees allowed to leave during breaks?  Are any shifts or portions of shifts occurring between 10:00pm and 6:00am?
If you allow employees to leave, you are not required to provide a break room at all. If you force them to stay, you have to provide a break room that is “suitable for this purpose” according to California law.  This typically means that if you have a room designated for breaks, it would qualify.
If you have employees working anytime between 10:00pm and  6:00am, you have to have hot food and drinks available to employees (for free or available for purchase), unless you have resources to heat food or drinks (ie a microwave, which you did not mention having).
Certain industries are excluded from following certain break room requirements.  For more specific answers, please repost your question stating your industry and/or other relevant company information.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, December 16th, 2010 at 11:03 am and is filed under
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6 Responses to “breakroom law in california”

  1. Courtney Says:

    I work in a Hospital. Is it a California law that they must provide us with a breakroom within so many feet of where we work.

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Courtney! A California employer who requires that employees remain on the premises during meal breaks must provide a suitable break room with facilities for eating and heating food. However, there is no limit on how far from the work area that break room may be. For rest breaks (but not meal breaks) the requirement is for a net 10-minute break — meaning the time the employee spends walking to and from the break area is not counted in the break time. Different rules apply in some occupations. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. Shasta Says:

    Are California employers liable for employees that go off site for walks during their 10 minute breaks? Where would I find this information?

    Thank you.

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Shasta! Yes, under the workers comp regulations, an employee who is on the clock or being paid is covered by workers compensation. If the employee is injured for any reason, or injures another person, the employer is liable. The federal FLSA requires that employees be paid for any break that is less than 20 minutes.
    It is very common practice and entirely legal for employers to not allow workers off the premises on a short rest break. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  5. Sabrina Says:

    I work in a surgery center, and although I am able to leave for my “lunch” period, we do not have a suitable break room. We do have employees staying over night, they have a small mini fridge and a small microwave in one of the patients rooms. SO this means if they have 4 patients they do not have access to the fridge or microwave and they are not allowed to leave once shift starts. They are Independent Contractors, however do they still have to provide an adequate break room? There is no table and chairs for them to “rest” in is this suitable also??

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Sabrina! Check with the California DLSE, but it sounds like the employer is meeting the requirements for a break room for daytime employees. As long as the employees can leave the premises, no break room is required.

    If the night workers cannot leave the premises, they may be employees rather than independent contractors under state and federal law. In that case, the employer has misclassified the employees and has much bigger problems than not supplying the required break room. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

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