Rest Break Law in California

Do California employees have the right to take rest breaks?

Yes.  In California, each employee who works at three and one-half (3.5) hours or longer in a work day, must be allowed to take at least one 10 minute rest break.  Rest breaks must, insofar as practicable, be taken in the middle of each work period.

How many rest breaks am I entitled to take per day?

Employees who work between three and one-half (3.5) hours and six (6) hours in work day are entitled to one ten minute rest break.  Employees who work between six (6) hours and ten (10) hours per work day are entitled to a second 10 minute rest break.  Employees who work more than 10 hours in a work day are entitled to a third ten minute rest break.

Can my employer require me to “clock out” for my rest breaks?

Generally, no. The rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods. Since employees are paid for their rest periods, they can be required to remain on the employer’s premises during such periods.

What happens if I am not permitted to take legally required rest breaks?

If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with an applicable IWC Order, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided. Labor Code Section 226.7.

How much time am I allowed to take on a rest break?

A rest period is defined as a “net” ten minutes, which means that the rest period begins when the employee reaches an area away from the work area that is appropriate for rest. Employers are required to provide suitable resting facilities that shall be available for employees during working hours in an area separate from the toilet rooms.

What Should I Do If I Have Not Been Provided All of My Rest Breaks?

If you believe your employer has not fully provided you with rest breaks under California law, click here.