Is it okay to work through my rest periods so that I can leave work 20 minutes early?
No. Working through your rest period does not mean that you can either leave work early or arrive to work later. In California, 10-minute rest breaks are allotted to each employee for every 4 hours they work. You many only file a California rest period wage claim if your employer does not allow you to take your breaks. If you chose not to take your breaks during your 4-hour work period, although your employer allows you to, you may not file a rest period wage claim in California.
Joe’s employer allows him to take a 10-minute rest period during each four-hour shift he works. Joe decides that he is going to work through his designated rest periods so that he can leave 10 minutes early from work. In California, Joe is not entitled to leave early from his job because he refused to take his rest period during his 4-hour work period. In this case, Joe is at fault and his employer is not. Joe would have no grounds to file a California rest period wage claim.
If you have a question about California rest period law or want to file a rest period wage claim, contact Strauss & Strauss APC.