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Under California laws, every employee should be given at least 30 minutes of break period for more than 5 hours of straight work a day. It is also provided that, in cases of meal beaks, the employee should not be made to wait for any client or be on standby for any work related matters during said breaks.
Aside from the employer’s obligation to grant meals and rest breaks to employees, during said brakes, the employer must make sure that another employee will be available to relieve the employee on break. The reason for this is to make sure that the employee on break has the freedom to leave the work premises if he or she wishes to.
Under California law (IWC Orders and Labor Code Section 512), every employee must be provided with no less than a thirty-minute meal period when working more than five hours a day. On the other hand, if you are employed in the motion picture industry, you should be provided with at least 30 minutes break for more than 6 hours of work under IWC Order 12-2001).
However, there are exceptions to the “on duty” principle of meal breaks. If you are a lone worker at a coffee kiosk or a sole employee at a convenience store at night then you and your employer may agree to an on duty meal break, which is to be paid to you by your employer and treated as regular time worked. This is the only exception where your employer can request you to be “on duty” while on break. The operative factor here is that you are being paid for your “on duty” break.
If you are not given paid meal and rest break or asked to wait for customers while on break, then your employer is in violation of your meal and rest break. To know more about your rights relating to these matters, it is best to consult Mesriani Law Group’s experienced Los Angeles Meal and Rest Break Attorneys for help.