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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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I have a small business in California with employees. My staff

Resolved Question:

I have a small business in California with employees. My staff would like to work their shift without taking a half hour unpaid lunch break which I thought was mandatory. Is this legal? Do they need to take their paid breaks?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
Hello and welcome,

The state typically enforces mandatory lunch and other breaks strictly and the requirement cannot normally be modified by agreement with the employees. You would likely be penalized for this practice if the labor board were to investigate, so it should be avoided.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
The labor law states briefly that you can waive the lunch break by mutual aggreement, but I was still doubtful. Was your answer absolutely accurate?
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
The labor board has indicated that employees may waive break periods but cannot waive lunch periods.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Your answer seems to contradict: Which is correct? I'm sorry, but this is confusing.

Revised 3/7/08

In California, an employer may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing the employee with a meal period of not less than thirty minutes, except that if the total work period per day of the employee is no more than six hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of both the employer and employee.

Employers of California employees covered by the rest period provisions of the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders must authorize and permit a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. Insofar as is practicable, the rest period should be in the middle of the work period. If an employer does not authorize or permit a rest period, the employer shall pay the employee one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided.
Expert:  Tina replied 5 years ago.
I was not aware the work period was less than a normal 8 hour period. If it is no more than 6 hours, then the lunch could be waived by mutual written agreement typically.

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