Are You Getting Your Breaks?
You take pride in your work, so you don’t mind occasionally going over your hours or skipping a lunch break to get a job done. But what you may not know is that your employer is required to pay you for all of the time you spend on the job—even if you may have agreed to waive your right to a break.
Employers Are Required to Provide Mechanics With Breaks and Locations to Take Them
Under California wage laws for transportation workers, employers are required to provide mechanics with breaks and locations to take them. If the employee does not take all required breaks (or if the employer does not offer them), he or she shall still be paid for time on the clock.
Mechanics must be furnished with the following under California law:
Any mechanic in California who works for more than five hours is required to have meal break of 30 minutes. If a worker’s shift is six hours long, an employee can choose to waive the meal period with consent of the employer. If an employee works for longer than 10 hours in a single day, the employer must provide a second meal period of at least 30 minutes. If the employee works for 12 hours or fewer, the second meal period can be waived only if the employee was given a full first meal period. If the employee is not relieved of all work duties during a 30 minute meal period, than the employee shall be considered on-duty and the meal period may be counted as time worked. If employers require mechanics to eat their meals onsite, the employer must provide a suitable place for that purpose. If the employer fails to provide adequate meal breaks, he or she must compensate the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each workday that a meal break was not provided.
Employers are required to provide 10 minute rest periods in addition to meal periods at regular intervals in a worker’s shift. In general, employees shall be granted 10 minutes of rest time for every four hours worked. Employees shall not be required to clock out for these rest periods, and shall be paid for the duration of the break. Employees whose shifts are less than three and one-half hours may not be granted rest breaks. Employers who fail to provide employees with mandatory rest periods may be ordered to pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate for each workday that a rest period was not provided.
Employers are required to provide lockers, closets, or cabinets to safely store the employees’ outer clothing while at work. If an employer requires a change of clothing, changing rooms with reasonable privacy must be provided. Locker rooms and break areas may be near, but must be separate from, toilet rooms, and must be kept clean.
Employees shall be provided with an adequate number of seats for rest and work activities near the work area. If an employee is not actively engaged in work duties, he or she should have access and permission to use these seats as long as the performance of his or her duties is not affected.
You Could Be Owed Hundreds of Dollars in Back Pay
If your employer has been denying your meal or rest breaks or has not furnished you with workplace amenities, you could be able to hold him liable for unpaid wages. To find out more, read through a free copy of our guide to California wage and hour laws, The Ultimate Straight Talk Guide To Getting Your Hard Earned Wages Back.