Because working long hours can take a considerable toll on anyone, you certainly appreciate a break now and then. However, you may sometimes feel as if you do not have the ability to take breaks due to the fast-paced nature of your job or due to discouragement from your employer. If you feel uncertain about your ability to take a moment to catch your breath while on the job, you may have an interest in this area of employment law.
In California, you have the ability to take provided breaks, and your employer must provide those breaks when certain stipulations require it. Information on those requirements may help you understand whether your employer violated your employee rights.
If you have a work period of over five hours, your employer must provide you with a 30-minute meal break. During this time, you will go unpaid, and you will not have to carry out any job-related duties. This break must also come no later than the completion of your fifth hour of work. If your employer attempts to get you to perform work duties during this break or discourages you from taking your meal break, these actions could violate your rights.
If you work more than 10 hours on your shift, you should also have the opportunity to take a second meal break. This second break works in a similar manner as your first meal break.
You may also want to remain aware that you may waive your right to take a meal break as long as you meet other break requirements. Additionally, an employer does not have an obligation to force you to take breaks. He or she must only provide the opportunity for those breaks.
In addition to meal breaks, state law also accounts for 10-minute rest breaks. These breaks may take place if you work at least 3 and a half hours. For every four hours worked, your employer must provide a 10-minute break. Preferably, this break would take place near the middle of the four-hour work period. However, certain factors particular to your employment may result in a variation of these breaks.
Addressing unprovided breaks
If your employer fails to provide you with your required breaks or makes you feel as if you cannot take those breaks, these actions may warrant serious attention. Therefore, you may want to find out more information on how a lack of breaks may violate your employee rights and what legal options you may have for addressing the situation.