Whether you have recently started a new job in California or you have been at the same place of employment for many years, the policies concerning breaks can still be unclear and confusing. Sometimes, your employer may be to blame, but other times the problem may simply be a miscommunication. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations has detailed exactly what you need to know about work breaks in order to ensure you are following the law and being given all the time off that you deserve.
According to state laws, you must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes if you will be working five or more consecutive hours in a day. If you work 10 hours, your employer is required to give you a second meal break of at least 30 minutes.
If you work at a job that does not allow you to go off-duty for 30 minutes at a time, you will need to remain on the clock and be paid your normal hourly wage during the meal break. In order for this to be approved, you and your employer will both need to sign an agreement consenting to the arrangment. If you are able to be relieved of all duty for the entirety of your break, your boss is not required to pay you during that time.
There are some exceptions to these rules. If you only work for six hours and do not want to take a meal break, you and your employer can both sign an agreement stating that you will not take a break. This information is intended for your education and should not be taken as legal advice.