Meal and Rest Breaks

Sometimes employers and employees both find themselves saying, “Give me a break!”
Must an employer provide a rest break to a worker during the day?

The general rule is that a worker is entitled to a 10 minute rest break for every 4 hours work, and the employer must not prohibit the workers from taking such breaks. If the nature or circumstance of work prevent the employer from giving the break at the preferred time (i.e. in the middle of the 4 hour period), then the employee must still receive the 10 minute break at another time during the day.

But, an employee cannot unilaterally choose to take his 20 minute break any time that he or she wants. For example, an employee cannot pass on both breaks in an 8 hour day, in order to leave 20 minutes early. The employer can also require that the employee stay on the premises during his or her breaks.

If the employer does not allow a rest break, then the employee can file a wage claim against the employer and recover one hour of pay for each workday that a rest period was not provided. For large employers, the damages can spiral out of control very quickly.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

Adishian Law Group is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco. As of March 2013, Adishian Law Group, P.C. has represented individual and corporate clients located across 20 California counties, 4 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries — in over 340 legal matters.

For more information about this topic or to speak with Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.955.0888 | 415.955.0888
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