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Category: California Employment Law
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I work a graveyard shift alone from 9pm - 5am. Am I required

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I work a graveyard shift alone from 9pm - 5am . Am I required to by California Law to take a 30 minute lunch break during this shift?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  GoLaw replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. Just to clarify - are you asking whether you must take the time or whether the employer must allow you to take the time?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

My employer is requesting that I work an extra 1/2 hr to allot for a "lunch break" that I do not take. I want to know if an employee working a graveyard shift is required by law to take a 1/2 lunch break? Or are there any special provisions for those employees working an off-shift or a shift without adequate personnel coverage? I do not want to take a 1/2 hour lunch break. I consider the graveyard shift a straight 8-hour shift.

Expert:  GoLaw replied 7 years ago.

Your employer must pay you for your break, so it shouldn't extend your work day. California law requires that all employees, except for salaried employees and certain residential care facility workers, be given a ten minute paid break for each 4 hours worked. Your employer cannot make you work more hours without additional pay to make up for the required break. You are not required to take a break if you choose not to. However, you cannot leave early if you choose not to take a break.

More information regarding the break requirement is available here:

Please let me know if you need additional clarification.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Hello - I am not inquiring about a "rest period". I know that I am allowed two 10-minute rest periods per 8 hour shift.

What I am asking about a 30 minute lunch break. Is it a California Law that an employer require an employee to take a 30 minute meal break during an 8-hour graveyard shift?

In other words, I currently work a shift of 9pm-5am (alone). My employer wants me to work from 9pm-5:30am and is requiring me to take a 30 minute (unpaid) lunch break during the graveyard shift. Are there any special circumstances regarding meal breaks and off-shifts such as the graveyard shift?

Expert:  GoLaw replied 7 years ago.

I apologize for the confusion. Yes, unfortunatley, the employer can require that you take a lunch break. California requires that you be allowed to take one and you cannot waive it. However, if your work requires that you remain on the premises, you must be paid for the time.

More information is available from the California Department of Labor:

GoLaw and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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