The benefit of a well-structured meal and rest break policy is two-fold: it ensures employers meet the legal requirements set by California labor laws, safeguarding your company from potential lawsuits and penalties. At the same time, it’s also a channel for fostering a workplace environment where employee’s well being is honored to reduce stress and boost productivity.
Moreover, a documented policy streamlines management, enabling efficient record-keeping.
Our free California Meal and Rest Break Policy template serves as a resourceful tool that enables you to enact a policy that adheres to California labor regulations and safeguards your employees’ physical and mental well-being, resulting in a win-win situation for all.
Read on to find out how you can create one for your business.
By definition, the sample meal and rest break policy in California is a set of rules and regulations designed to ensure workers’ well-being and fair treatment.
California employers must provide non-exempt employees with meals and rest breaks during their shifts. An employer should provide a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every five hours worked and an additional 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than ten hours in a shift.
The employer should also provide 10-minute paid rest breaks to non-exempt employees for every four hours worked.
Compliance with California employee break policy is crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce while avoiding potential legal penalties for non-compliance.
Check out our comprehensive guide on California Break Laws to learn more about meals and rest break requirements.
Like many states, California labor laws distinguish different types of employees depending on how they work. Exempt and non-exempt differ in terms of their work shifts, job title, and pay structure.
California wage and hour law does not apply to exempt employees. They may be entitled to unpaid meal breaks, but most do not qualify for rest breaks. On the other hand, California labor laws apply to non-exempt employees, and they are entitled to overtime pay, a minimum wage, and meal and rest breaks.
In most cases, there are three key requirements to determine whether an employee is an exempt employee under California law:
If these requirements are met, the employee is classified as “exempt” from minimum wage, overtime, and rest break requirements, excluding meal break requirements.
In addition to these requirements, a handful of other occupations are exempt from California’s labor laws. They include commission employees, computer professionals, physicians and surgeons, outside salespersons, private school teachers, truck drivers, union employees, and independent contractors.
California break laws have legal requirements and obligations that employers must adhere to and the rights that employees possess to ensure compliance and maintain a fair and productive environment.
Failure to adhere to these obligations in California can result in expensive legal litigation and financial penalties.
Let’s look at each one of them in detail.
PRO TIP: For the on-duty meal breaks to be valid, two conditions must be met: the job’s nature must indeed prevent complete relief from duties, and a written agreement between the employee and the employer must exist, indicating mutual consent for this on-duty meal period. Additionally, the employee retains the right to terminate this agreement for an “on duty” meal period at any point, as stipulated and safeguarded by The Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders and the California Labor Code (IWC Orders, Section 11, Order 16 Section 10).
Dealing with California break compliance can be challenging. Efforts to constantly remind employees to take breaks as required may sometimes fail to bear fruits. Some employees may neglect their breaks, leaving employers to deal with the complexities of collecting signatures and figuring out who is taking breaks.
Timeero’s innovative California Breaks Tracker lets you monitor and manage breaks accurately. You can learn more about it by checking the video below:
The app also allows employers to receive timely notifications whenever employees are not compliant. They can generate comprehensive reports and seamlessly export data to facilitate streamlined payroll processing and thorough audits.