Gone are the days when California employers could require their employees to work tirelessly for endless hours without taking breaks or eating. The California Legislature has enacted various statutes to protect California workers from exploitation and giving them opportunities to recharge the batteries.
There are many purposes behind providing employees with meal and rest periods. By taking breaks, employees can take care of various personal issues during the day. Additionally, breaks facilitate and improve an employee’s mental health, clarity and sharpness of mind.
To comply with these rules, employers typically communicate the legal requirements of California’s employee break laws to nonexempt workers and provide them opportunities to take meal and rest breaks. This is usually done in bulletins and the employee handbooks, which typically contain references to the employer’s policies concerning meal and rest periods. Employees should check there are employer’s handbooks and policy manuals to educate themselves about the employer’s policies and to compare those policies with the legal requirements for meal and rest periods stated in the applicable statutes and wage orders.
For more information concerning meal and rest periods, and other wage and hour laws, please see the “Wage and Hour” section of my website.