Rest Periods in the Middle of a 4-hr Work Period

Do my rest periods always need to be in the middle of my 4-hour work period, under California law?

No, but a close to the middle as practical. In California, your rest breaks should be given as close to the middle of your 4-hour work period as possible. In some circumstances, it is not practical to always get your breaks in the middle of your 4-hour work period, but you must get a break at some point during your 4-hour work period. If you do not get a 10-minute rest period during your 4-hour work period, your employer is at fault. You would be able to file a rest period wage claim in California. As a CA employee, you have rights to file a California rest period wage claim. If you do get your 10-minute break during your 4-hour work period, your employer is not at fault and you don’t have grounds to file a rest period wage claim in California.


Joe employee works at a restaurant in California as a waiter. He generally works four-hour shifts. One night the restaurant was so busy and Joe was the only waiter there because the other one was sick. Joe was nearing the end of his shift and he had not received his 10-minute paid rest period from his employer. Sometimes, it isn’t practical for Joe to always get his break during the middle of his work period because restaurants are typically busy in waves. Joe will usually get his breaks when the restaurant calms down, and still within his 4-hour work period. When Joe asked his boss for his 10-minute break, his employer refused to give it to him since Joe was the only waiter working. Joe did not receive his 10-minute break that night. Joe can file a rest period wage claim in California under CA law if his employer doesn’t compensate him with one hour extra of work at his normal rate for every day Joe didn’t receive a rest period.

If you have a question about California rest period law or want to file a rest period wage claim, contact Strauss & Strauss APC now.

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