10-Minute Rest Breaks in California

California employment law requires employers to give non-exempt employees (which means “hourly” employees) one 10-minute rest break for every four hours of work. This break is paid and must be “uninterrupted” – meaning the boss can’t ask the employee to do any work during the break. The break should fall close to the middle of the four hour shift, not at the very beginning or end. Employee’s may voluntarily elect to skip their break, but if the company forces the worker to skip the break, that employee is owed one additional hour of premium pay as a penalty.

Branigan made the below whiteboard video to explain CA’s rest break law to non-lawyers. After you watch it, make sure that you read the rest of this page to get a complete picture of how rest break law plays out in the real world.

How Many Rest Breaks do CA Employees Get?

It depends on the length of their shift. Most of California’s wage orders provide for 10 minutes of rest for each four-hour work period (or major fraction thereof). This means that a second rest break must be provided if the employee worked over six hours, and so on.

  • Hourly employees who work less than 3.5 hours in a shift don’t get a 10-minute rest period.
  • Hourly employees who work between 3.5 and 6 hours get one uninterrupted 10-minute break period.
  • Hourly employees who work between 6 and 10 hours get two uninterrupted 10-minute rest periods.
  • Hourly employees who work between 10 and 14 hours get three uninterrupted 10-minute break periods.

Unfortunately, many employees across California are rarely granted a break, if at all. But make sure you check the applicable wage order for your industry before you run off to the labor board to file a claim for unpaid wages. There may be exceptions in the applicable wage order for your industry. If your employer forces you to skip the break, you are owed a hour of pay. Over time, the premium pay can add up to a substantial amount. A experienced rest break lawyer will be able to calculate this amount.

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Rest Break Lawyer for CA Employees | Branigan Robertson


Do I need a lawyer for rest break violations?

The best way to illustrate is by example:

If you make $30/hr and your boss doesn’t let you take a 10-minute break within a 3.5 – 4hr period, your boss is supposed to compensate your with one hour of premium pay ($30) on top of the hours you worked that day. Upon learning about this, most rational people say, “I’m not going to sue my boss for $30 bucks.” Very true. However, you might want to file a claim against your boss if you add up all those penalties.

That $30 penalty applies per day. And if you add them all up, that could be a lot of money. Let say you’ve been denied two rest breaks every day for the past three years (not uncommon).  You could be owed $48,600. If you add that to a few other wage and hour violations, such as meal break violations, unpaid overtime, or record keeping violations, that number could hit $100,000 with ease. That might motivate you to contact an employment lawyer.

If the amount that you are owed is small, you may find it difficult to find a lawyer like Mr. Robertson to take your case. After all, contingency lawyers only get paid a percentage. If the case is too small the lawyer won’t get paid much of anything for the amount of work that is required to pursue these cases. Therefore, if you can’t find a lawyer, we highly encourage people to file their claim with the labor board. This is a great way for small amounts to be collected without having to pay a substantial percentage to a lawyer. Do note, however, that if you are owed a large amount of unpaid wages a private lawyer is far more effective at maximizing your recovery.

California Rest Break Lawyer

Here are a few more details on rest breaks: The break must be a paid break. Your boss can’t deduct 10 minutes from your hours worked every time you go for a stretch, smoke, or stroll.  Also, to the extent possible, you have to take the break near the middle of each work period. This is flexible, though. Lastly, you don’t have to take the break if you don’t want (provided your boss isn’t ‘encouraging’ or forcing you not too).

Additional Information

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I hope this page has been helpful in your search for information.






191 Responses to 10-Minute Rest Breaks in California

  1. meaghen phillips

    I’ve been working at a new job for 2 months now, I’ve never been given a 10 minute break and when I ask I get denied. I get paid 11$ an hr in California would this mean the days I worked for the past 2 months I should be getting paid 22$ extra for each day I work?

  2. cam

    How many minutes of paid rest breaks do I get for working exactlys 6 hours? The 6 hr mark is right on the cut off. My manager is trying to convict me of time fraud

  3. Adrianna

    Hi , I been working for the past 4 months.I go in by 6:45a.m if by 7:40 or 8 they don’t have production running they send us to breakfor 10 minutes after going back if by 10: 00 something goes wrong they send us to lunch for 30 minutes after there’s no breaks .till the end off the shift They let us go by 3:05 and take our 10 minutes break before going home. I would like to know if that’s a fraud?

  4. Terrigene Allen

    If I’m on a 210min break can I leave work/Company grounds?

  5. Terrigene Allen

    If I am on a 10min break can I leave company grounds?

  6. Wale

    I have to clock out for my ten min break. If I’m late one min. I wouldn’t get my ten min payed. It’s a family owned business. Is this against the law?

  7. Noemi

    I have to take a 10 minute rest break daily, but when I add up the 10 minutes and then accumulate to one hour over my pay period, that hour is paid at $2/hr. Minimum wage is $12/hr. Is it right of them to pay me $2/hr for my rest breaks?

  8. Cristian Davila

    Good morning, I have work for the same company since January 27, 2012 I’m still employee with them, but just last year on October 2016 we were required to write down our 10 min break time on the time sheets, prior to that I wasn’t given a break or I wasn’t aware about the 10 min break law believe it or not, I’m currently getting lay 12.50 per hour, my question is, is there anything that I can do about it?

  9. Martha Bernard

    I am on a 10-99 contract but I work with a company. Should my 10 minute break be paid since I only work four hours a day? And if it’s not paid, do I even have to take a 10 minute break at all?

  10. Ana

    What if an employee doesn’t take their break during the allotted time? Is there a cutoff as to when an employee can take their break before it’s considered that they opt to not take their break? I have an employee that tries to take their break just before their lunch to essentially get an extended lunch.

  11. Tina Biondo

    I am an SLPA, and have been working for 5 hours a day for five months. I have not gotten one break, but Now my boss has asked me to clock out for 10 minuets or say that I have taken a break. Does this mean I am owed past breaks.

  12. Stacie L. Walker

    An an employee ban smoking during 10 minute rest breaks in California.

  13. BraniganRobertson

    10-99 employees (so long as they are not misclassified) are not entitled to 10 minute breaks per CA labor code.

  14. BraniganRobertson

    Yes, you should call a lawyer.

  15. BraniganRobertson

    You should not be clocking out for your 10min rest break. You are supposed to be on the clock.

  16. BraniganRobertson

    Yes. But since its only 10 min, it is not unreasonable for an employer to request that you stay nearby. They just can’t ask you to do any work. Your break must be uninterrupted.

  17. patrick medawar

    if i work 5 hours shift , and i do n0t want to take my 10 minutes breaks even the manager ask me to take one.
    do i have to sign some kind of papers or i will be ok

  18. Nicole

    I work from 3:00pm to 9:30pm am I suppose to take two 10 min break or just if I’m working a 8 hr shift

  19. Natali

    I been working for this company for four months and never had a break. When I asked my supervisor about our breaks he said he’s never taken a break himself and he’s been working for this company for the last 3 years. I want to know if we can do something about this?

  20. Tony

    I work for the 99 Cents Only Store in Vacaville California and they make us clock out for every ten minute break. This company has approx. 17000 employees, not sure how many of those are hourly but, by my calculations they take about $700-$900 from each employee yearly. I don’t know what to do- find a lawyer or fi I’ll a complaint with the Labor Board. Also, is there any way that company would be exempt from that law?

  21. Patti

    My employer is forcing us to write down our breaks and sometimes I don’t have time to take one but I’ve been told I have to “lie” and write one down on the time sheet anyhow. I just read that an employee can choose to skip their break. If I do that, does that mean I can leave 10 minutes earlier? Also, can they control when I take the 10 minute break? They just sent out a company wide email stating it must be taken by 11:00 but I don’t start until 9:00 (others start earlier) and I prefer a later break

  22. BraniganRobertson

    I would call a lawyer as soon as possible. If the 99 Cents store has a company policy of doing what you describe, there might be a class action that is worth pursuing. I would first try to find a lawyer, and then if no lawyer is interested, then contact the labor board. You can call us as we handle cases like this.

  23. BraniganRobertson

    You should call a lawyer to determine whether or not you are entitled to a break. If you are, it may not be worth pursuing by itself unless you are willing to risk losing your job (unfortunately when employees complain about something like this they are quickly fired).

  24. Janid

    Our employer just implemented a rule that all non exempt employers take their break at a specific time of the day. Is it legal for us to be forced to take our break every day at the same time. What if we come in an hour before the first mandated break.

  25. David

    We just found out that our employer wasn’t aware they were supposed to give the part time workers another break after working 6 hours for the past two years. They would give it to us after our 7 hours. How would we go about that.

  26. Debbie Ahumada

    I live in Torrance, CA. Can you send me some information regarding lawyers i can call. I have not been given a single 10 minute break in almost 3 years. Also,
    i have been forced to take a 60 minute lunch when i want to take only 30 min lunch

  27. CIkan

    I was working as an industrial seamstress 7.5 hours a day, M-F. We were given two 15 minute breaks (paid) and one thirty minute lunch, unpaid. I didn’t want to take the breaks and continued to work through them. The day before my last day, the owner came up to me during the last breaka nd told it was break time and I needed to stop working. I explained to her that per CA Labor code, yes, she HAD to give me a break, but I had the right to decline to take it, though she did not have the right to decline me the break. SHe said okay, she understood now and walked away and then came back a minute later and said there was no sewing machines to be running during break time. I said okay and turned my machine off. The next day (turned out to be my last day) during “break time” I folded the pockets for the pices I was sewing since I hate just sitting idling by and doing nothing. When I got home I got a call from teh temp agency saying my assignment had ended and I was not to return. ALso, all the workers there on visa (every employee but me and two other white women) all passed around and signed a petition for me to be fired or they would all go on strike (they hate working with white women I was told by another worker) so I as let go because of thier racial discrimination and because I “worked” on my breaks. It is my break time, I should be entitled to do what I want with it, it seems to me and they should not have been able to fire me for me not taking breaks and because the mexican workers didnt want me there.

  28. Tori

    How does this work for a place like fantastic sams? We are client based an we get very busy!!! We are told that when it quiet that is considered out 10 min break!! it can and is always interrupted! Also we get schedual for instance a 4-9 shift which is 5 hours but we clock in 16 mins before our shift and don’t leave until about 930 and we have to close and clean the shop which means we have been actually working 5 hours and 45 mins with no lunch or 10 min break! Any advice?????

  29. Miriam

    Hi, I’m a part time employee at a fast food restaurant. Today (4/21/18) i did not receive a 10 minute break. I don’t know if my manager forgot or if it was too busy for one. I didn’t ask to have a break either. I usually get a break. What should I do?

  30. Santos E.

    If employers or fellow department heads are watching or stalking you during rest and meal break, do they have a case against them?

  31. jose garcia

    I worked for 18 years with out breaks and lunch

  32. olga gonzalez

    Do Employees have to notify the supervisor about 10 minute breaks.

  33. Sandra

    I work in a clothing store in fullerton. I was scheduled for 5 hours of work one day. I had taken my 10 min break. Then my boss got upset and told me im not allowed to take a 10 min break when working only 5 hours. This is true? Also another employee had told me, she was yelled at by the manager for going into the break room to drink water quickly without asking. Also customers complain about the managers attitude, and about her horrible customer service, and that they find her very disrespectful. What can i do?

  34. Ray

    Hello I been working at my job for over a year now. I work a 8am – 5pm Monday – Friday work schedule. Since I started I never received a single 10 minute break. I do however after working 5hrs straight in a day I receive a 1 hour lunch at 1pm (non paid). My question is by receiving a 1hr lunch instead of the a 30 minute lunch would that be the reason why I don’t receive any breaks ?

  35. BraniganRobertson

    Call a lawyer.

  36. Mike

    Son works a pizza place and they mandate 3 unpaid 1/2 hour breaks instead of 10 minute paid break. He is there 9 hours for a 7 1/2 hour shift. Is this practice legal in CA.?

  37. Nikki Lukesh

    Hello I was working 8 hour shifts 40 hours a week for almost 6 months at a pay of $17.51hr. We were “encouraged” to take our breaks,( 2 fifteens and a 30 min lunch), but I was given assignments to complete during these so called “breaks”. Also, there is proof I was working during most of those breaks due to the emails that had to be sent to all the managers. What is my next step with moving forward. Do I have a case?

  38. Ismael

    I’ve been working for a construction company for about 3 months I got fired for no reason,and also they were only giving us a 20 or 25 minute break per pay without clocking in or out is there anything I can do about this.

  39. I recently quit my fulltime job (one week ago) of 1 1/2 years.
    In that time I almost never got a 10 minute brake and some times would work a 8 hour shift without a 30 minute lunch brake.
    Is there something I can do about this?

  40. I recently started a new job that makes me clock out for my 10-minute breaks and makes me take 30 minute breaks if I am on the schedule for 5 hours. Is this legal

  41. Mike

    I work for a small manufacturing company in CA. Once each quarter, we have a mandatory safety meeting held during the morning 10 minute rest break. The meeting is in the conference room, so the workers are away from their work station. The employees are on the clock and are allowed to eat if they want. They just need to sign in to show that they were there. Otherwise, they just listen to the presentation and may ask questions at the close of the meeting. The meeting length ranges from 10-20 minutes. An employee asked if this was OK under CA law because it is a mandatory meeting. What say you?

  42. I know if I work 7 hours I get 10min break and 30 minute lunch but do I get a 2nd 10 minute break?

  43. Sarah

    Hello. I was never given a break and i worked at Rocking Jump on Adrnold road in pleasanton ca. Please help me. I want this buisness shut down or to pay their dues to me and everyone else who neber got a break

  44. Royce weller

    I have been working for the same company for over 4 years and I’ve never been told we get 10 minute breaks, we do get our lunch breaks but never was informed of 10s. We work 8 hour or more a day and just recently I heard they are suppose to compensate for missing 10 minute breaks, how would I go about the last 4 years of no 10 minute breaks

  45. BraniganRobertson

    It is not legal to force employees to clock out for their 10min breaks. Those are supposed to be paid in CA.

  46. BraniganRobertson

    Yes, probably. Call my office or a lawyer like me.

  47. Timothy McBride

    I am working at a swimming pool maintenance company and we record out hours on our phones (on the t sheets ap) I was not aware of the 10 min break law and did not clock in for my 10 min break for 7 months.my boss just told me that I have to by law.can I get paid for all of those 10 min breaks for the last 7 months even though I didn’t sign in for them?

  48. Kenny

    My manager forces us to sty inside the store for our rest break at midnight, in the name of safety. Im a smoker i like to smoke for my breaks. This has been this way for 4 years. Ive been dinciplined and suspended for this rule.

  49. Alexis C Garcia

    I work for a Sheriff’s Office as support staff. My boss has made multiple comments about me taking more than my allotted breaks which is not true. The only reason he says this is because most people don’t take their breaks and he is always gone for extended amounts of time and late on a regular basis. I was given a blue slip for being 5 minutes late on the same day he arrived at the same time as me. I work 7:30 to 5 and get two 15 minute breaks and 1 30 min break which is what our policy allows us. How do I handle this when I always remind him that I am not over taking breaks.

  50. BraniganRobertson

    Yes, you are entitled to get paid for the time you were clocked out during your 10-min breaks. However, just because you are legally entitled to something doesn’t always mean its a good idea – especially if you want to maintain a good relationship with your employer. But if you really want to pursue your case, you can.

  51. Frank

    Hello, I’ve been working in a restaurant for the past 5 years and have only ever received a 30 min break. I work an average of 9 to 10 hours a day, and no 10 minute breaks at all during the shift. Is this legal? Or should I look to file some sort of complaint?

  52. Stephanie

    If an employee is scheduled for 8 hours and entitled to one 30 minute meal break, are they entitled to two 10 minute paid breaks or only one since they are technically only clocked in for 7 1/2 hours after deducting the 30 minute meal break?

  53. Wade Yoder

    My question is about employees taking advantage of the 10 minute break. We always make sure the 10 min breaks are available for them. The Question is When does it start and end. I have employees taking up to 15 minutes sometimes. They assume that the Break starts when they get settled in and don’t start work until they get settled back into work. My understanding is its 10 minutes total in between actual work. Some change then start break. I’m all for all given breaks but this is when it becomes difficult.

  54. BraniganRobertson


  55. BraniganRobertson

    Is this happening to everyone or just you? It sounds like the break laws are not being followed here. But I can’t answer whether or not you should file a complaint because that depends on your situation. Call a lawyer for a consultation.

  56. Dez

    I usually work 7-8 hr shifts. My meal break(30 min break) is usually taken at my 2nd-3rd hr into my shift. My last two 10 min breaks are taken in the last hour of my shift. Can they do this? I want to tell them something but afraid they will try and let me go if i do.

  57. Shelly Cortez

    I have been working at a fast food franchise for 3 1/2 years as an exempt employee. We were told by the employer and the district manager that we are not allowed to take any breaks from 5 pm to 8 pm. Also, they don’t even let us take our last 10 minute break sometimes. Is this a violation and what should I do about this?

  58. Zoila

    I just have a question so during my rest break my employer stating that I’m I’m not allowed to leave the premises for example if I want to go across the street to a Rite Aid and get myself something I’m not allowed to I have to stay within the premises is that breaking any laws

  59. BraniganRobertson

    You are supposed to be relieved of all duties. So you should be able to leave to go across the street so long as you can be back within 10 min. There are exceptions to these rules, sometimes.

  60. Ron

    Hello,I used to work at a place where if I work 10 hours, say 8:30-7, I would get 3 breaks and a lunch.

    I am now working at a place where I get 2 breaks and a lunch for working 8:30-7.

    Which way is correct? I am so confused about this.

  61. Ines

    Hello, we are 4 people, we were working as housekeepers , got paid with payroll, from 30 to 39 per hour, 2, 3, 6 years working for them, 3 of us got fired with no reason, we worked under stress, and we had to stay in the house 9 hours and get paid 8 hours only, they forced us to take one hour for lunch break from our time, they never gave us the 20 min, rest break , could we get paid those unpaid breaks? Thamks

  62. Jeff

    Haven’t had a 10 min break in 13 years work seasonally 8 to 10 hour days. Legal or not?

  63. Noah J Silva

    I work a straight 8 hours shift 6 to 2 pm the company says take my lunch and breaks so my lunch before my 6th hour and break every 2 hours. I work at a guard shack and let truck drivers in through out my day. If I wanted to take my break and a truck driver was to come I have to stop my lunch take care of the driver then continue my lunch after I get my whole break. But it was interrupted should I get paid for my lunch break even though theres interruptions I was told no by my company because I’m able to continue my lunch as soon as I was done dealing with the driver

  64. Erick

    Im working in a company and i signed for a full time job. But sometimes they let us go home w/o 8 hrs job like only 6 hrs job and sometimes they call us not to come to work bec. It is slow but some co workers are working. Bugeting is messed up. Please advise

  65. Maria

    I work as a cashier at a restaurant 8 hour shifts and I only get one break, unpaid 30 minute for lunch. Am I supposed to get a 10 minute break? Everyone else who works here gets the same one 30 minute unpaid break but they work more than 10 hours.

  66. BraniganRobertson

    For most employees, during a typical 8hr shift, they should get one 30min unpaid lunch break AND two 10-minute paid rest breaks. It sounds like your company is not complying with CA law. But more information is needed.

  67. BraniganRobertson

    Depends. You’ll have to call a lawyer to get more accurate info.

  68. BraniganRobertson

    That is a very good question, Noah. First of all, when a break is “interrupted” usually the employer must pay you for the time spent working AND a penalty. You should call a lawyer for more information.

  69. Luke Landrum

    I work at a pizza restaurant and make 11.50/hr and work 27 hours a week and have never been given a ten minute break and have noticed that nobody receives one/ talks about it. My check does not include any kind of premium pay should I bring this up to my manager?

  70. Rafael Castillo

    I just started working a new job that gives us per they’re policy 15 min breaks. At first we were able to go outside if we wanted, but now they say we can’t go outside at all, only on our 30 min break. My issue is that I’m a smoker and I smoke every break. Can they prohibit me by law from going outside on my 15min break?

  71. Jolina

    I worked at an optometrist office for almost 3 1/2 years my employer never gave me 10 minute breaks. I always new it was wrong and it looks like he’s still doing it even after I left. Can I be compensated for not getting 10 minute breaks?

  72. Amiy

    I work 2:30pm til finish. We usually work 8 to 10 hrs. We do receive break at 4:30, lunch at 6:30(-7:00) & final break at 9. Which is fine for under 9 1/2 hour work day according to CA break laws but there’s days where we clock out minutes before the 10 hr dot and we don’t receive the additional 3rd break (which should be at 11). For example, (today) my 2nd final break was at 9-9:15pm. Then I clock out to go home at 12:53am. Between 9:15 pm and 12:53am, 3hrs and 38 min (Which is over the 3 1/2 CA break law) is worked but we did not receive the additional 3rd break. But there’s times we clock out (for example) 12:40am..so does that mean we aren’t entitled to the additional 3rd break since between (2nd break) @ 9-9:15pm and 12:40am is (3hrs and 15 min) under the 3 1/2.? I have been with this company for almost 5 yrs. We have never received the 3rd additional break if we clock out before the 10 hr for even though the time worked between (2nd) final break and clock out time is over the 3 1/2. The company is very specific with the clock in and out times. For example, if I clocked in at 2:25pm, I must be clocked out (to go home) by 12:55am to avoid having to take a second lunch (per “laws for lunch”). Finally, I know the situation I’m asking about is only violating the laws by less than 15 minutes at the most but I do feel that Just like an employer can have very strict policies that employees must follow to maintain employment..Employers NEED to do the same to the laws that are there to protect the employees. If this is something worth looking into, I can’t even imagine over the years, how much is owed to myself as well as many other employees. Its hard to speak up because as you mentioned, you can get fired quickly.

  73. Jesse Benavides Jr

    Im currently still employed at my job, 10years, but when i started the first two or three years i was not given my two rest breaks as a full time employee…… After that time a new employee came in and was more aware of the break system, so from that point it started….

    My question is would it be too late to ever make a case about it

  74. Moni

    I work for a private owned company, i know that by law we have to take a 30min break before our 5th hour if we are working more than 6 hours and that if we dont take one or are given on we are supose to be paid an hour for it. But today my boss said that if we do not ask for it and if they personally did not deny it that we are not entitled to have the hour paid for not taking the break, & they dont provide us 10min breaks either. So he says it is our responsibilty to make sure we take our breaks. But if we ask and tbey say its to busy to take it & we are not relieved later on to take it we still wont get paid for it because he says they are not denying it.

  75. BraniganRobertson

    Too late. The statute of limitations for this area is 3/4 years.

  76. BraniganRobertson

    Potentially. Call our office (or another employment lawyer) for a consultation.

  77. BraniganRobertson

    Generally, no, you need to be relieved for all duties and restrictions on your break. There are exceptions sometimes, however.

  78. BraniganRobertson

    You certainly can. You should be receiving your breaks and if they are breaking the law for everyone, it might be worth pursuing.

  79. Brittney Ortiz

    My employer recently told us that we are not allowed to go outside on our ten minute break while the store is closed but we can on our thirty minute break, I read your reply to someone else that generally they are not allowed to restrict us from going outside but you also said there are exceptions? Could you give me a couple examples of some exceptions to this law/rule?

  80. Bobby

    Was this answered I’m curious

  81. BraniganRobertson

    It is unlikely the exceptions apply to a retail establishment. So, you should be able to take an “uninterrupted” 10min rest break.

  82. Jason Hernandez

    I have not gotten not 1 single 10 min break from my employer for the past 4 months. What can I do ?

  83. Joe

    I am a non exempt employee my shifts are 4 &5 hour differ on certain days BUT EVEN on my 4 hour shift it is almost for sure it turns into 4 n half hours .I have been there 6 months without one ten min break.Myself and another employee were even sent home one time because he took a cig break at about 3 & half hours I went outside to tell him there are no breaks and our boss went ape S#!T and sent us both home.Am I allowed a ten min on both days I am from California? THANK YOU.

  84. Rachel O'Campo

    My employer makes me clock out for my (paid) lunch immediately after clocking in for my shift. I don’t have an actual scheduled off time-just a start time for my shift. Lately, I have been working a total of 9 hours on any scheduled day with only having that initial lunch break. I only work this one shift a week. Is there a law against making me take this lunch break as soon as I arrive for my shift? How about not getting my 10 min break? I have addressed this issue with my supervisor, and all they say is “sorry” or some other excuse.

  85. BraniganRobertson

    They are not allowed to force you to take your lunch right at the start of your shift.

  86. Andrew

    My employer expects me to stop in the middle of my break to help out others when help is needed. And says after I’m done helping I can continue the rest of my break. Is this correct? I remember hearing some where that if my break was interrupted then when I continue my break, the clock starts over

  87. Kelly

    Hello, I work for an extremely large restaurant company. I have been there two years as of this month. Pretty much every employee that works as a server has not received a 10 minute break. If we do attempt to take one we are asked why we are sitting down. Times are designated for the employees who work in the kitchen to take breaks but that is all. Every other employee runs around until it is time to leave. Most of us work 4-5 hour shifts so we qualify for that 10 minute break. Do you think that is a violation?

  88. BraniganRobertson

    That sounds like a violation, but every situation depends. Give us a call – 949-667-3025

  89. BraniganRobertson

    Hi there, if your employer interrupts a valid break in any way the employer is supposed to pay the employee a penalty. They can interrupt your break, but they must pay the penalty.

  90. Rachel O'Campo

    We are forced to take our lunch immediately after clocking in for our shift-although we are paid during this time, is it legal to only give us a 10 min break later in the day-I feel I should be getting another 10 min break working a 9 hour shift. Because I am getting paid during my lunch-do I not earn another break?

  91. Andrew Roman

    I work flat rate and work 10+ hours a day 4 days a week. The company is requiring us to clock onto idle time which is double minimum wage pay. This pay is significantly less than my regular pay rate. Should I get paid my full rate during rest breaks or are they allowed to only pay the standard double minimum wage.?

  92. Esmeralda Rivas

    Hi worked for Sheri Rich Mount for two months beginning January and ending in February. In those two months I was not given a designated break. The office Manager Jennifer would make such a big deal of all my mistakes. When I confronted her about me not having my brakes she told me while you could have left the building at any time. I told her that I was never given a designated time to take my break so how did I know when to take my brakes.

  93. Jacqueline Hernandez

    I work 7 hours without a lunch break what happens to me?

  94. anonymous

    Hello, I’ve been working for a small business in San Bernardino County for the past 4 years; it’s a desk job doing medical billing. We clock in at 8:30 and clock out at 4:30 instead of 5 because we don’t punch out for lunch, we still do get a 30 meal break but I feel that because we don’t punch out that they think it’s ok to count that as out breaks. We had an office meeting earlier this week and because we have new hires I asked if we can take at least one break at 2:30, my employers response was, and I quote “We’ve never allowed you a break before.” That because we have desk jobs we shouldn’t take breaks. Is this right…

  95. BraniganRobertson

    No, that is not right. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to take legal action. I would call an employment lawyer like us for a consultation.

  96. Hello i work on a golf company they just change of manager but the new guy he’s making new rules. I take my break when the bell ring at 8:15 until the bell rings 8:25 but now he want us to be their before the bell rings so in other words im taking 7 min breaks beacuse we are afraid loosing our job ……can he cut our breaks from 10 min to 7 min.

  97. Pat Millikan

    My shift starts at 7am and my supervisor says I have to take my 1st break at 8am with the rest of his guys that start at 6am. I don’t feel it fair for me to take a break an hour into my shift. Before I go and ask HR about this, can they make me take the break at 8am?

  98. BraniganRobertson

    Generally, an employee’s break should be in the middle of each 4hr block of work. So, it shouldn’t be right at the beginning or end of a shift.

  99. Mari

    I work for a doctors office, my shifts starts at 7:30 a.m. My boss sends me to lunch at 9:00am. I then have to take an hour and 30 mins unpaid lunch. When I return I have to work the rest of my 8 hour shift with no breaks. The dr who is the owner is very rude and creates a very hostile work environment. She goes around yelling at all the employees and sometimes calls us stupid. This is not right. Can they force me to go to lunch an hour and a half after clocking in then work the rest of my shift with no breaks?

  100. Maggie

    I worked the night audit shift at a hotel from 1030pm – 630am, 5-6 nights a week. I had to sign a meal waiver form because I am basically the only person there that could be at the front desk and help guests. I would be paid an extra hour of time for the 30 minute lunch break I could not take. However I never received any 10 minute breaks either. If I needed to go to the restroom I could get a security gaurd or valet attendant to watch the desk briefly and would have to take a radio with me in order for them to let me know if a guest came to desk so I could rush back. Does the meal waiver cover breaks as well? (I don’t recall anything being on it about my break times). Or can they be penalized for that?

  101. Taylor

    I have worked for a ups store in Southern California for over 8 years, 4, almost 5, of which have been full time, and nobody has ever gotten a single ten minute break. When I was being trained the manager told me the downtime when there aren’t customers in the store count as breaks. And this has always sounded like bs. Does it sound like I might have a case? Should I gather my fellow employees and look into some kind of class action suit?

  102. Breana Carcano

    Yesterday I had worked an 8 hour shift. They gave me my lunch break around 4 hours in but they did not give me either 10 minute breaks until 10 minutes before my shift ended and had to go overtime to get my other ten. Is that legal? Or are they supposed to pay me for that?

  103. BraniganRobertson

    Employers are supposed to give you your 10-min breaks in the middle of your shifts.

  104. BraniganRobertson

    It might be worth investigating. I would call a lawyer like us for evaluation.

  105. BraniganRobertson

    A meal waiver does not cover 10min rest breaks. They can be penalized for having employees work during their 10min breaks.

  106. Paula Elam

    Who is at fault when working for a staffing agency. I work for a clinic and can only take a brezak6when there’s no doctor’s in the office

  107. BraniganRobertson

    Both the staffing agency and the employer may be liable.

  108. Evangeline Browne

    I typically work 9 hour shifts, 6:30-3:30. We don’t have physical lunch or rest breaks, but we do have downtime where we occasionally are able to sit down for a few minutes. On my pay stub, my employer has subtracted an hour every day for what is supposedly an hour long unpaid break everyday (that we do not actually take). We usually have time to eat a snack that we bring and rest for a minute, but we do not clock in or out to represent this time and it is definitely not the equivalent of an hour everyday. My boss could be totally in the right but it just seems confusing to me. Thanks!

  109. BraniganRobertson

    Hi Evangeline,

    I highly recommend that you call an employment lawyer for a consultation. Based on what you’ve written, it sounds unlawful and may be worth investigating. You can call us for a free consultation 949-667-3025.

  110. Ron

    Question : Is my employer suppose to give me a 10 min break or am I suppose to request my 10 min break??

  111. Sarah

    Hello, I just started a new job. On my second day I had asked about rest break due the site was a school and I like to smoke. It ended up eventually(…a bit of a push) it was given to me. Thought it was odd none of the other employees where taking their break, but didn’t think much of it. I got the impression that the employee’s would be “forced” into “volunteering” to not take any of their breaks due to fear of losing their job, but I just thought maybe I was reading the other employees wrong. The next day I was told me my employment was terminated. Online there is much information on compensation to individual that hasn’t had past breaks. But that’s not my situation. I guess my question is .. keeping in mind i live in California what would the courts think about the circumstance, because I feel like I was terminated for refusing to allow my employer to conduct unlawful actions onto me. Just out of work again, depressed not too sure how I going to pay my stacking up bills.

  112. BraniganRobertson

    Great question. The law doesn’t look at it like that. The employer needs to make it “available.” So you should ask for it if you are unsure.

  113. Alyssa

    My fiance works overnight and when all the workers take breaks they are not allowed to go outside, even on their lunch break… is this illegal? Many of them chew and or smoke and are not being allowed to on their breaks. They lock all doors and don’t allow anyone in or out.

  114. Dawn

    My employer has mis-classified me as exempt when I should actually be a non-exempt employee. As such, they have never tracked my hours. I am paid for a meal break each day, but I have never received any 10 minute breaks, and since they do not track hours, there is no proof of me ever taking a meal break. Am I entitled to an additional hour of pay for each day without a 10 minute break?

  115. Lisette

    I work at a family owned restaurant and they make us take a ten minute break or we cant clock out and I cant leave the store on my break. I have to stay in the front and work if customers come in because I’m the only employee there along with one cook. I’ve worked throughout all my ten minute breaks and even been so packed with customers that I forget to clock in for my ten minutes and it goes over the time limit.

  116. David

    Here’s a questions of a different sort, as an employee, do I have to take the rest breaks I am entitled to? I was under the impression they were voluntary on the employee’s side but I have an employer that is telling me that I can be disciplined (including termination) if I don’t take my breaks. I just find the breaks to be too much of an interruption for my workflow.

  117. Mark Moreno

    Can an employer require you to stay indoors at all times, even during the 10-15min breaks? If employee steps outside or simply goes to vehicle or walks outside for a break, the employer has stated employees to clock out, even if its during their break or not. Is this legal or a protected class? This is for a business in CA. Thank you for your time.

  118. Edsy

    I worked 1 week at a place and was from 9am to 6 pm didnt get my two 10 minutes or 15 minute breaks. What do I do? I quit.

  119. Martha

    Where I work I get a 10 minute break but have to clock in and out , in Humboldt County California , also no shades on front windows and sun hits us cashiers where it’s HOT AND NO AIR CONDITIONING .

  120. Jessica Hernandez

    Hi I have a concern I been at a company for almost 5 years they never gave us 2 breaks I worked over 6 hours and they are only going back 2 years from now is it true they can’t go back more than 2 years and pay you for breaks you never received? They said if I sue they would do the same and only go back 2 years

  121. BraniganRobertson

    That is incorrect. The statute of limitations can be more than 2 years.

  122. Michelle

    I work for a spa in Santa Monica. For years the spa was not giving their employees 10-minute breaks nor their 30 minute lunch break. The massage therapists shifts are over 6 hours. Within the past year they started implementing the 10 minute breaks and 1/2 an hour lunch breaks because a therapist started questioning them, twisted their arms, and made it known to them what California laws require.
    My question is, for all those years the therapists worked without lunch breaks and 10-minute breaks, can they be compensated for that?

  123. BraniganRobertson

    Yes, call a lawyer to see if the amount you have lost is worth pursuing.

  124. Amalia giron

    If i work 9-4:30 get 30 mins for lunch at 12:30 but no breaks before or after is that ok?

  125. Steve cano

    What about when my employer gives me 4 hours in the morning and then has me come back in the afternoon for another and says I don’t get a lunch ?
    6-10 am. And then 2-6 pm

  126. Helpless

    I was told by a supervisor that we have a schedule rest break and if we miss that time we don’t get rest break anymore. We were inform that if we are busy we cant take the 10 mins. Break. No mentioning of relieving us employee, even if we ask and we are busy it will be denied. Is this right?

  127. J. ramos

    i’ve worked at the same company for over 14 yrs. & i was told the office don’t take breaks due to the office can drink/eat at desk. meaning i can have a cup of coffee and bagel when i chose or eat lunch on my desk.but lunch would be clocked out. eating/drinking coffee i would still answer phones/ór do my position which was accounts payables/receivables. i never took a break. what should i do?

  128. BraniganRobertson

    I would have your case examined by a lawyer.

  129. Jon

    At work they give us 15 paid breaks 2 times a day! Today I took my break and during break a saw a parking violation! I texts the owner and told them I was going to report them! They showed up at my work place. My boss knows it was me! I’m am on a current fail write up! Can they fire me? I was on my break! It was done on my personal phone

  130. Mel

    I worked a 8 hour shift and went over my 5th hour for lunch. My wouldn’t let me use the time clock to clock out for lunch and said they will enter it. Isn’t that a violation?

  131. I work for a retail company and asked if I was scheduled 11:30am to 7:30pm how many rest breaks do I get, the District manager said one 15min rest break and a 30min meal break. I read that the California labor law says I would be entitled two rest breaks. Are they in violation of the labor law? I would like to address this to him and let him know they are in violation of the law..pls. Advice

  132. BraniganRobertson

    They are probably breaking CA’s rest break laws. If you’ve been working there for a significant amount of time, it might be wise to contact a lawyer to see how best to go about things.

  133. Eustacio Parra

    I am scheduled 10 minute breaks, Sometimes I come back a bit early just not to be late. I do this for me not because I am being asked to. Is there an issue with that?

  134. BraniganRobertson

    No. Your employer may require you to take the full 10 min. If so, just do what they say. Unless the company forces you to come back early from your break, there is no issue with you voluntarily coming back to work early.

  135. R

    I work at a small mom and pop convenience store. I’m allowed a 10 minute break and 30 minute lunch. If I take a 15 minute break and a 40 minute lunch on a regular basis can they fire me?

  136. R

    I’m in California btw

  137. Darklotus

    Yes iv been working for this company since 2016 they put us on 11 1/2 hours everyday. I start at 2 and clock in exactly at 2. We take our 1st break at 4 or 430 have lunch at 6 and take our 2nd break at 8 or 830 and they dont give us a 3rd break but make us work until 1230 and than either tell us take a break or go home. Is this legal? Can they not give us a last break even though they kept us until 1230?

  138. amy guzman

    I work at retail store.
    start 10 am to 2pm-no break because 10 minutes break every 4hours
    weekend 10 am to 6pm – 12pm(10 minutes break) and 2pm take 30 minutes lunch.

    I would like to know it is ok or i should need take additional 10 minutes break.

  139. Joab arellano

    Hello, I work in a mill pellet plant in southern california. Been working here for almost a yr and a half, I have asked my foreman and my supervisor about our breaks. They keep giving me the same answer “ ill see what i can do about it”. what should I do?

  140. Steve

    Question : on my 10 minutes break can I go to a store croosing the street and come back to work or I have to state on the company area . Because the company is paying for that time ?

  141. Jessica Galvez

    If an employee is supposed to take thire lunch at 12:00. They are asked to go on their break at 11:40. Are they supposed to get paid that hour break ?
    Can the employer change the employees lunch time to adjust it so that they don’t get paid that hour break?

  142. Tiarra

    Is it illegal to work 4 and half hours of a 8hr shift in california without a rest break. I took my first rest break 4 1/2 in then took my lunch break 10 minutes later. I also had to submit that I took my break but it doesn’t specify what time I took it, just that I took it. Should I still get paid an additional hour for working 4 1/2 hrs without a break?

  143. Eric

    My employer just told me if I intend to leave the property during my 10 minute break, I am required to punch out. As far as I’m aware in California, I’m allowed to do whatever I want during my break time and not required to clock out. I work for a hotel

  144. Michael Garfield

    Hello, I’m employed in California, I work 8 hour shifts and I’m allowed a 30 min lunch and two paid 10 min breaks. My employer forbids us from smoking a cigarette during a 10 min break. Is that legal to forbid a staff member from smoking a cigarette during a 10 min break?

  145. BraniganRobertson


  146. BraniganRobertson

    I recommend you call a lawyer for a consultation.

  147. BraniganRobertson

    Keep asking. If there are a bunch of you who are not receiving breaks, call a lawyer for a consultation. You can call me at 949-667-3025

  148. BraniganRobertson

    You are supposed to be relieved of all duties. So you should be able to go for a walk and do whatever you want.

  149. BraniganRobertson

    Depends. Did you sign a waiver?

  150. BraniganRobertson


  151. BraniganRobertson

    Probably not, unless you’re smoking in a place in violation of a law or regulation.

  152. Scott

    I work at an 8hr shift auto shop. Some days we get way more break time (triple +) than two tens and our lunch. Other days we’ll skip one of the breaks but get the other plus our lunch because we know we get so much other break time on other days. My employer has never told me I can’t take a break but I’ll skip that one sometimes to get work caught up. Our breaks are treated as Salaried employees since we kind of take them as we feel we should/can. How should I approach this?

  153. BraniganRobertson

    In this situation, I would not recommend calling a lawyer. I would recommend that you have a non-confrontational conversation with your employer and work things out.

  154. Valarie Annatone

    Under the CA law is there suppose to be a gap of time between lunch break and last 10 minute break? The school I work at gives us a 10 minute break 15 minutes after our lunch break. I had understood there needed to be an hour but the director is saying that we have to go.

  155. Brenda

    Under the CA law is there suppose to be a gap of time between lunch break and last 10 minute break?

    The school I work at gives us a 10 minute break just 15 minutes after our lunch break. I had understood there needed to be an hour in between but the director is saying that we have to go.

  156. Mike Grounns

    I’m a nurse at a residential group home for young girls. I’m encouraged not to take my breaks. And I’m a smoker. So I ignore there encouragement. But when I take my 10. Or my lunch They tell me as soon as I get walkied on my walkie talkie I have come back to the office and serve my patient. 90% of the time the girls get board and just come asking for headache medicine or non medical related things. So almost everyday as I walk out to smoke. 2-3 mins intro my 10. I get walkied that I have a girl outside my office and interrupted. And since my boss told me I have to come back regardless what I’m doing. I come back. But I been getting in trouble because Most of the time I go back outside to smoke the cigarette which I couldn’t even light the first time I went. And if I don’t get called back. I always get interrupted by getting walkied a question. Or asking me where I’m at. When I will be back. And etc. being nurse. Does the break laws still effect us.

  157. Charlie

    We are required to sign off on our breaks and lunches. My question is if we forget to sign off on our meals or breaks can we legally be written up?

  158. Vieira

    Hi I work at a front desk in a hotel. if during my work time at the front desk, I’m stending up, been available, and if I check my Facebook, since there is anyone checking in, or any phone calls, is this considered a 10 min break?

  159. Gabriel Galindo

    How long has the three 10 minute breaks for working 10 hours or more law been in effect? I was told by hr that law went into effect in 2018. And that if I wanted to be paid for them violating the law, I would have to sue.
    What’s the statue of limitations on this law? How long do I have to sue them before my claim is invalid?

  160. Susu

    My employer ask us to clock in and out if we leave the store for any reason as store policy but they said if I leave because I will be on break I must report it to the manger to be added to my time card is this legal?

  161. Lou

    I work at a country club, have for the last 3 yrs. They are now forcing mandatory 30 min for 8hr shifts Lunch breaks (off clock) they however say nothing about taking a 10 min rest break. To any employees now since its being enforced or prior.

  162. Lou

    Also. Some do not want to take any breaks. Employer says there is no waiver to opt out.

  163. Ruben Perez

    I got questions of some one work from 9am to 2 pm do they get 2, ten minutes break since they are not get the lunch break?? How does it work the normal work hour during the week is from 9 am to 6pm she get one hour lunch.

  164. Heather Bates

    My question is about 10 minute breaks. I worked at a company for 17.5 years. They corrected the no break issue 1 year ago. (I think the labor board was called, but not sure.). However, I haven’t been compensated for not getting breaks for 16.5 years. Should I file a claim? Get a lawyer? Can anything be fine if issue was already corrected???

  165. BraniganRobertson

    Maybe. The problem is the statute of limitations. You would not be able to recover for 16.5 years. It would be limited to only a few years.

  166. Amanda Sowash

    I work from 8 am to 5 pm and I take a lunch break from 12 pm to 1 pm. My boss also gives us 2 – 15 minute breaks (one in the morning and one in the afternoon). I was just informed today that I can’t just go take my 15 minute break anytime I want and that I can only take it the same time every day. Are they allowed to dictate my 15 minute break?

  167. Joe M

    Is it legal to give you all my breaks and lunches the first two hours at work? Also is it legal to make us take two lunches in a shift! We work 9 hour shifts with 2 lunches and 2 breaks

  168. Edwin

    We’re I law to tack my 10 minut

  169. Annette Najera

    I have a question I work at 2 different fast food restaurant are they allowed to make u work an 8 hr shift and only give u only one 10min break and a lunch no 3rd break and are they allowed to clock u out and still make u work well u are off the clock and if u work a 4 hr shift are they allowed to send u how after only working an hour and a half

  170. BraniganRobertson

    No. That is not legal.

  171. Cindy

    I live in Orange County, CA. If choose to not take a lunch, do I have to have written or verbal consent from n=by boss?

  172. Alexis Olvera

    Is it legal for an employer to make me take a 30 minute break for a shift shorter then 5 hours? my boss has made me take a 30 minute break and I literally only worked like 3 1/2 hours

  173. BraniganRobertson

    Good question, yes, but that is weird. So long as your 30min are uninterrupted it sounds legal.

  174. BraniganRobertson

    No, but if your company requires verbal/written consent, there is nothing wrong with that.

  175. CatherineC

    I have only taken 2 morning rest breaks since I started my job in Dec 2019. Its busy and they want me to get my work done… would I be entitled to get paid for all those days. Also there is a spot on the time sheet for breaks and I never filled it out because I didn’t take them?? Please help

  176. BraniganRobertson

    I recommend that you talk to your supervisor about it. If they still refuse to let you take breaks, then elevate it to HR. Here is a video I made on how to complain properly – How to Complain Properly at Work – https://youtu.be/NHS0LohJhHI

  177. katz Katz

    I feel like that may be more along the lines of a class action suit possibly?

  178. Veronica

    Is this still valid , they are asking us to clock for ten minute breaks. Is it the law in California as of 2020.do I have to clock out.

  179. BraniganRobertson

    CA companies are not supposed to have employees clock out for their 10min rest breaks.

  180. Anonymous

    If a person does not take their 2 ten min breaks during the day is that employee allows to leave 20 mins early and have their time card adjusted by employer?

  181. Christopher Penn

    I’ve worked with this company since January.i work a minimum of 10 hrs a day. 6am-430pm. The only break that we have is from 11am-12pm.are we entitled to a break before 11am and another break before 4pm?

  182. Diana

    I work for a doctors office and we don’t clock in or out anytime during the day but have to initial the schedule nor do we get any breaks in a 9 hour work day. We do get either an hour lunch or 2 , 30 minute breaks . For a private practice in California are they required to give breaks?

  183. Betty

    I’ve been workin for same company 11 years. The last 12 months we got a manager that’s makin us take ten min plus hour break. Before that no tens and sometimes no lunches. She paid for the lunches. But sometimes it was ot. Any recourse on the ten min breaks the last ten years

  184. Modesto lopez

    Trabajo en una company donde casi nunca nos dan tiempo para lonche, y menos descansos, y y muchas veces trabajamos mas de 8 hrs y no nos pagan mas de las 8, es normal

  185. Pancho Villa

    I have been with this company for over 6 years and they have the habit of always interrupting out breaks and lunches do they owe us any wages? And how do we keep track of all the times they do it because it’s their word against our word?

  186. Never got a 30 minute breaks or my 15 minute rest breaks

  187. Mireya

    Where I work the manager told us to take a break and he said it started when you begin to walk to the rest room.
    Is that allowed?
    There are people walking from the end of the facility to the rest area.
    Is that right?

  188. Kimberly Vakoc

    I come in to work at 8. Frequently I am told to take my break when I’ve been at work less than a hour. I’m also told that I either take it then or I won’t get one at all. Isthis legal?

  189. Kristi

    You don’t have to answer any radio calls while on your 10 minute break. I had the same problem and the solution is to radio everyone before your break and tell them you are going on your ten and if you interrupt my 10 and force me to work I will need ti restart my 10. There’s a poster now where I worked that says you are relinquished of all duties which includes answering radio calls.

  190. Kristine

    You are entitled to at least 2 paid 10 minute rest breaks. If you go over 10 hours worked then it’s 3 ten minute rest breaks.

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