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Featured / April 4, 2024

What meal breaks am I entitled to?

In California, employers are mandated to provide meal breaks to employees. If you work more than five hours during your shift, you are entitled to a meal break of at least thirty minutes. 

If you work more than ten hours during your shift, you are entitled to a second thirty minute meal break. 

If your employer does not relieve you of all working duties during the thirty minute meal break, it is to be considered an on duty meal break and you will be entitled to your regular rate of pay. An on duty meal break is permitted only when the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all working duties and both the employer and employee agree to an on-the-job paid meal period in writing. The agreement must specify that the employee can revoke this agreement at any time. 

If your employer fails to provide you with your required meal break(s), the employer must pay one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each shift that the meal break is not provided. 

In California, employers are required to provide meal breaks to employees to ensure productivity, safety and your well-being. However, not all employers provide the adequate meal breaks for these reasons:


Employers may perceive a meal break as a financial loss as during these times you are not directly contributing to work tasks. As a result, they may prioritize productivity over compliance with meal break requirements. 

Misunderstanding of the Law: 

Your employer may not be fully informed on their legal obligations regarding meal breaks. Lack of awareness or misinformation can lead to unintentional violations. 

Staffing Shortages: 

Your employer may struggle with the necessary amount of staff, particularly during busier periods. In such cases, employers may avoid providing adequate meal breaks to avoid disrupting operations. 

Pressure to Meet Deadlines: 

In certain lines of work, employers may prioritize meeting deadlines or targeted goals rather than ensuring their staff is provided with adequate meal breaks. 

Contact Sani Law For A Free Consultation 

If you believe you have a potential case or if you have any questions, contact Sani Law for a free consultation.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute a client relationship.
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