Complying with the Meal, Rest Break Laws in California: How Employers Must Do It

Wage earners in the State of California are not only entitled to minimum wage and overtime payments for all their hours worked. They are likewise entitled to meal and rest breaks as dictated by the prevailing labor laws in the state. As such, it is every covered employer’s responsibility to comply with the requirements on meal and rest breaks. Failure to do so would mean penalties, as well as lawsuits filed against them by the aggrieved employees.

So what can employers do to avoid facing expensive lawsuits and incurring heavy sanctions for committing certain violations of labor laws  on meal periods and rest breaks? Here are some tips they should always be keeping in mind:

  • Employers must take a closer look at their work system, making sure that they don’t prevent employees from taking meal and rest breaks. There is a tendency for employers to not provide rest breaks if employees are subjected to a working environment wherein they are compelled to skip breaks. This can be remedied by giving employees the right schedules.
  • It is the employers’ responsibility to ensure that their workers are given the opportunity to take their meal break by ensuring that they time out and time in for it. Employers may sanction those who do not follow company policies; that way, they are able to do everything to have their workers take the meal breaks that are required by the law.
  • Employers must be able to uphold a certain system that would allow employees to report meal and/or rest period violations before anything could get out of hand.
  • Employers must have their managers, supervisors, and other key authority in their workplace undergo training with regard to the company policies, including meal and rest breaks.
  • They may include disclaimers on their employees’ time cards regarding meal and rest periods. By having the disclaimers in every time card signed by the employees, it easily means that they acknowledge the company policies and can be used against them if they fail to follow what is required of them.

Putting into practice these tips would leave California workers convinced that their employers are complying with the state’s labor laws. However, there are still companies who still disregard their workers with regard to their meal and rest breaks. As such, employees affected by this kind of illegal practice can seek the expertise of a Los Angeles labor lawyer. They may likewise file complaints with the appropriate California labor agency.


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