Lunch Breaks and Your CA Reality

Do you feel empowered to take a lunch break? 37% of millennial workers say ‘no’

June 26, 2019

YOUNG WORKERS

Photo: vgajic/iStockphoto

Philadelphia — Millennials are three times more likely than baby boomers to think that co-workers would negatively judge them for taking a lunch break, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Tork, a napkin manufacturer for the food service industry.

Researchers surveyed 1,600 employees about their lunchtime habits, engagement at work, productivity and job satisfaction. They found that 37% of millennials (workers ages 18-35) said they don’t feel empowered to take a lunch break. Among millennial bosses who were surveyed, 31% said employees who took a regular lunch break don’t work as hard as other employees. Only 15% of Generation X bosses agreed.

Yet millennials, according to the survey results released June 4, were the generation with the greatest desire to enjoy a lunch break: 62% said they would opt for a longer lunch break, if possible. Only 46% of baby boomers said the same. When asked if they looked forward to taking a lunch break, 44% of millennials strongly agreed – 16% said they would take a pay cut if it meant they could take a lunch break every day – along with 36% of Generation X workers.

Although taking a lunch break is associated with a stigma for millennials, 90% said the time helps them feel refreshed and ready to return to work.

“We understand that today’s employees – especially millennials – often find it difficult to take a lunch break due to workplace demands and even a perceived stigma around leaving the office for lunch,” Don Lewis, president of professional hygiene at Essity, which owns the Tork brand, said in a June 4 press release. “That’s not good for business if you’re working in an office.”

Ok, all of this is fine and good, but they neglected to address what the law demands for your lunch breaks AND rest breaks here in California. This should help out most of you at your job.....

Under California meal break law (which is much more generous to employees than federal labor law), if you are a non-exempt worker, you are entitled to a 30-minute uninterrupted, duty-free meal break if you work more than 5 hours in a workday. You are also entitled to a 10-minute uninterrupted, duty-free rest breaks for every 4 hours you work (or “major fraction” thereof). If your boss doesn’t comply with break law requirements, they are required to pay you one extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a meal break violation occurred, and another extra hour of regular pay for each day on which a rest break violation occurred.

California Rest Break Law Chart

Hours on the Clock Rest Breaks:

0 – 3:29 hrs 0

3:30 – 6 hrs 1

6:01 – 10 hrs 2

10:01 – 14 hrs 3

14:01 – 18 hrs 4

18:01 – 22 hrs 5

California Rest Break Requirements

  • Your boss must give you a rest break of at least 10 consecutive minutes that are uninterrupted.

  • Rest breaks must be paid.

  • If you work at least 3.5 hours in a day, you are entitled to one rest break. If you work over 6 hours, you are entitled to a second rest break. If you work over 10 hours, you are entitled to a third rest break.

  • Rest breaks must, to the extent possible, be in the middle of each work period. If you work 8 hours or so, you should have a separate rest break both before and after your meal break.

  • Your boss may not require you to remain on work premises during your rest breaks.

  • You cannot be required to work during any required rest breaks. [Cal. Lab. C. 226.7]. BUT, you are free to skip your rest breaks provided your boss isn’t encouraging or forcing you to.

California Meal Break Law Chart

Hours on the Clock Meal Breaks:

0 – 5 hrs 0

5:01 – 10 hrs 1

10:01 – 15 hrs 2

15:01 – 20 hrs 3

20:01 – 4

California Meal Break Law Requirements

  • If you work over 5 hours in a day, you are entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the fifth hour of your shift. BUT, you can agree with your boss to waive this meal period provided you do not work more than 6 hours in the workday. You can also agree with your boss to an on-duty meal break which counts as time worked and is paid.

  • If you work over 10 hours in a day, you are entitled to a second meal break of at least 30 minutes that must start before the end of the tenth hour of your shift. You can agree with your boss to waive the second meal break if you do not work more than 12 hours and you did not waive your first meal break.

  • You must be allowed to take your meal break off work premises and spend your break how you wish, since it is off the clock.

  • You cannot be required to work during any required meal break. [Cal. Lab. C. 512].

  • As of 2012, your boss has an affirmative obligation to ensure that breaks are made available to you but the actual taking of meal breaks is left to the employee. In other words, you are responsible for “breaking” yourself.

Note, rest breaks and meal breaks are supposed to be separate, they should not be combined. Your boss cannot give you a single 1-hour break and say that that counts as all of your meal breaks and rest breaks.

Keep in mind, there are many exceptions to the above for certain industries, such as the construction, healthcare, group home, motion picture, manufacturing, and baking industries.

If you have any questions, concerns or needs, just call or email.....I WILL HELP!

909-481-7223

Glenn@ComplianceandSafetyFirst.com

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DELANEY Insurance Agency, Inc.

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Address:   Delaney Insurance Agency, Inc.

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