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CA Employees Rest Period – Is Your Company Complying?

Posted on August 27, 2017

Rest Periods – Review Your Practices

Several industries, such as security firms, car dealerships, and medical fields have argued that they are not able to relieve their employees of all duties during rest breaks. Their argument has been that due to the nature of work, for example, a security guard or an emergency medical technician must remain on-call during rest breaks even if they do not actually do work during this time.

At the end of 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled that the employer must relieve employees of all duties during rest breaks and cannot require them to be on-call. Employers must:

  • Provide employees with an uninterrupted break;
  • Relieve employees of all duties; and
  • Relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.

As a reminder, non-exempt employees must be provided rest periods, as close to the middle of each work period as is practical.  The rest period is based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of ten (10) minutes per four (4) hours worked. This chart illustrates how rest periods should be calculated:

Number   Hours WorkedNumber – Ten Minute Periods
3 ½ – 61
6 – 102
10 – 143
14 – 184
18 – 225
22 – 246

Rest periods may not be added to meal periods to extend the time, nor used to make up for tardiness or leaving work early.

The court also ruled recently that commission only employees must be paid separately for their rest breaks. If you have commissioned employees, ensure that you pay those employees separately for their rest breaks and pay at least the minimum wage for that time. Don’t include the pay for rest breaks in employee’s advance against commissions.

Employers who do not permit employees to take a rest break owe each employee one hour of wages as a penalty for every day the rest period was missed.

Since rest breaks are paid and no off the clock like meal breaks, most employers do not require employees to clock in and out for breaks. However, employers should review their policies and procedures to ensure that employees are being provided uninterrupted rest breaks. Employers may also want to consider having their employees sign attestations every pay period that they were provided all their uninterrupted rest periods.

Lauren Sims is the author and the Director of Human Resources Consulting for eqHR Solutions.

Whenever you require professional Human Resources or Payroll guidance to navigate the ever-changing landscape of California and Federal Employment Laws & Regulations, contact us for a no obligation consultation.

eqHR Solutions offers professional, tactical and strategic, human resources support, ADP payroll product implementation/training and payroll processing services for businesses throughout Southern California.