Does California Require Paid Meal Breaks?

Have you been denied a meal or rest break at work? You should know that California labor laws require that most employees have the right to rest breaks and one meal break over the course of a standard workday. Photo of timecard

In most cases, workers in California are entitled to a 30-minute meal break when they work at least five hours, two unpaid 30 minute meal breaks when they work at least 10 hours, and a 10 minute on-the-clock rest period for every four hours of work. The only situation where this may not apply is when an employee does not meet the hourly standards or is perhaps in a managerial position.

The best way to know if your employer is illegally denying you meal or rest breaks is to speak to our Los Angeles labor attorneys. If you explain your situation to our lawyers, we can review your claim and determine if your employer is violating labor laws.

Another situation that may come up if you work in a retail or restaurant setting is your employer having too many customers or providing you with too many tasks, not allowing you to take breaks. You should be paid for working through these periods. Check your wage statements to make sure that you have been paid for all the time you have worked. In some cases, working through these busy periods may push you into overtime, as you may pass more than 40 hours worked per week.

Guess Retail Inc. Accused of Not Providing Employee Breaks

According to, recently a former employee of Guess Retail Inc. filed a lawsuit in California claiming the company did not provide her with meal breaks and did not compensate her for working through the periods. Additionally, she accuses the company of “improper payment of wages upon termination and other deficiencies related to payment of wages and records.”

The lawsuit seeks class action status. The woman also claims that she did not receive her final paycheck within the state mandated period 72 hours following her termination from the company.

The case was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.

Am I Allowed to Take Breaks at Work?

If believe that your employer is paying you in an illegal fashion or is denying you meal breaks, talk to our Los Angeles labor lawyers. You can contact us by using the request form or phone number located on this page.

You may be able to enter into a class action lawsuit or file an individual claim. You should be paid for ALL of the hours you work, and your employer should be following labor laws when it comes to meal and rest breaks.

Kesluk, Silverstein & JacobLos Angeles employment attorneys