Rest breaks at work (2023)

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Workers over 18 are usually entitled to 3 types of break - rest breaks at work, daily rest and weekly rest.

Rest breaks at work

Workers have the right to one uninterrupted 20 minute rest break during their working day, if they work more than 6 hours a day. This could be a tea or lunch break.

The break doesn’t have to be paid - it depends on their employment contract.

(Video) Meal & Rest Breaks in California -- 5 Things to Know

Daily rest

Workers have the right to 11 hours rest between working days, eg if they finish work at 8pm, they shouldn’t start work again until 7am the next day.

Weekly rest

Workers have the right to either:

  • an uninterrupted 24 hours without any work each week
  • an uninterrupted 48 hours without any work each fortnight

A worker’s employment contract may say they’re entitled to more or different rights to breaks from work.

(Video) As an employee, am I entitled to lunch or rest breaks?

Work that puts health and safety at risk

An employer should give an employee enough breaks to make sure their health and safety isn’t at risk if that work is ‘monotonous’ (eg work on a production line).

Domestic workers in a private house (eg a cleaner or au pair) aren’t entitled to rest breaks for health and safety reasons.

(Video) CA Rest Break Law Explained by an Employment Lawyer


Does OSHA require 15 minute breaks? ›

OSHA establishes and enforces workplace standards that require employers to keep their workplace free of recognized hazards that can cause serious injury or fatalities. However, OSHA has no regulations or standards that require an employer to provide employees with rest breaks or meal breaks.

What is a rest break? ›

What Does Rest Breaks Mean? Rest breaks are regularly scheduled breaks throughout the work day that allow employees to pause from their work. Rest breaks may include breaks for meals or personal time. Rest breaks can be vital in reducing accidents from fatigue.

What is a rest period at work? ›

Regulations on rest and meal periods make a distinction between rest periods (usually lasting 5 to 20 minutes) and compensable waiting time or on-call time, all of which are paid work time and meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes that are not compensable work time. 29 CFR 785.18 - Rest Periods.

What is the California labor law for breaks? ›

Most California workers must receive the following breaks: An uninterrupted 30-minute unpaid meal break when working more than five hours in a day. An additional 30-minute unpaid meal break when working more than 12 hours in a day. A paid 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked.

How much break do you get for an 8 hour shift? ›

Rest breaks if you're over 18

If you're aged 18 or over and work for more than 6 hours a day, you're entitled to: an uninterrupted rest break of at least 20 minutes, taken during the day rather than at the beginning or end (eg tea or lunch break) 11 hours rest in a row between each working day.

What is the legal limit for working without a break? ›

Rest breaks at work

A worker is entitled to an uninterrupted break of 20 minutes when daily working time is more than six hours. It should be a break in working time and should not be taken either at the start, or at the end, of a working day.

Are rest breaks the same as lunch breaks? ›

Rest breaks - a break during your working day

A lunch or coffee break can count as your rest break.

Are rest breaks paid or unpaid? ›

There is no entitlement to pay for this break unless either: it's written in the employment contract that it's paid. the employer has agreed with the employee that it's paid.

How many minutes is a rest break? ›

10-Minute Rest Break Obligations

Employers must authorize and permit uninterrupted rest breaks for all nonexempt employees whose total daily work time is at least 3.5 hours. These mandatory rest breaks must be offered at the rate of 10 minutes for every four hours worked, or "major fraction" thereof.

Can I refuse to work on my rest day? ›

Accordingly, the employer must make known such rest period by means of a written notice posted conspicuously in the work place at least one week before it becomes effective. Since rest day is a right of every employee, this does not however mean that the employer cannot demand from his employee to work on his rest day.

Can an employee opt out of rest breaks? ›

You can opt out for a limited period, or indefinitely. But you must be able to reverse your opt out, and if you do that your agreement should state how long you have to wait before the 48-hour limit re-applies.

How often do workers get breaks? ›

Workday breaks: 1 hour rest break guaranteed at the middle of the shift if the working day is longer than five hours for women and six hours for men. Daily rest: 9 consecutive hours. Weekly rest: 36 consecutive hours minimum.

How many breaks do you get in an 8 hour shift in California? ›

15 minute break for 4-6 consecutive hours or a 30 minute break for more than 6 consecutive hours. If an employee works 8 or more consecutive hours, the employer must provide a 30-minute break and an additional 15 minute break for every additional 4 consecutive hours worked. Applies to retail establishments.

Are 15 minute breaks required by law in California? ›

What is a Rest Break Under California Law? California requires employers to provide employees with ten-minute rest breaks for every four hours (or major fraction) worked. Anything over two hours is a “major fraction” of a four-hour period.

Are rest breaks mandatory in California? ›

Q. What are the basic requirements for rest periods under California law? A. 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.

Can you work 8 hours straight without break? ›

California Break Laws

Employees who work at least 6 hours in a day are entitled to two 10-minute breaks, and those who work over 10 hours are entitled to three 10-minute breaks. Rest breaks must also be spaced out so that they fall in the middle of each work period.

Are breaks optional at work? ›

California employees are free to skip rest breaks, if they want. Employers may not encourage or force employees to do so. Taking meal breaks is the employee's responsibility. Employers only hold the responsibility to provide the opportunity for their employees.

What is a compensatory rest break? ›

Compensatory rest breaks are the same length of time as the break (or part of it) that they've missed. A worker may be entitled to compensatory rest if: they're a shift worker and can't take daily or weekly rest breaks between ending one shift and starting another.

What happens if I don't take a break? ›

Lack of breaks can lead to you becoming psychologically attached to your work which is not healthy at all. Psychological detachment from your professional life is necessary as it allows you the time to switch off from work to let your brain and body relax. So, taking breaks to relax and rewind is necessary.

Does my employer have to pay me for breaks? ›

Workers' Rights: Breaks. While most employees have the right to take breaks at work, as a business owner it's not mandatory that you pay for them.

Is rest day double pay? ›

Payment of Wages on a Special Holiday

An employee who works on a special day that falls on their rest day shall be paid an additional 50% of the basic wage for the first 8 hours. An employee who works overtime on a special day that falls on their rest day shall be paid an additional 30% of the hourly rate on that day.

Are breaks meant to be paid? ›

Employees are entitled to set paid breaks depending on the number of hours they have worked. Employment agreements will outline the minimum amount of time off allowed during a shift. Furthermore, each industry has different minimum break requirements. Most employees must be allowed to take breaks during their shifts.

How often should you have rest breaks? ›

Regular rest breaks should be taken about every hour in a cooler (air conditioned where practicable) or shaded area to help your body cool off.

Do you have to clock out for a 5 minute break? ›

As stated in the discussion above, the FLSA states that breaks of 20 minutes or less must be compensated. Breaks of more than 20 minutes are not required to be compensated under federal law. Often, that means employers can lawfully require employees to clock out for meal breaks of 21 minutes or longer.

Is a 10 minute break good? ›

Research Suggests We Should All Be Taking 10-Minute Micro-Breaks At Work. According to new research, short breaks at work of up to 10 minutes can help reduce fatigue and boost productivity.

Can my boss ask me why I need a day off? ›

Employers can ask why an employee is asking for time off. In fact, that question is pretty common on a standard Time Off Request or when requesting an extended Leave of Absence. However, an employee generally does not have to answer the question if they do not want to.

Why rest days are unnecessary? ›

Activating genes involved in muscle growth and synthesis each and every day through resistance training keeps those processes of protein synthesis turned on, which can lead to greater gains in both muscle size and strength. By never taking a day off, those synthesizing processes stay turned on.

What is rest day vs off day? ›

The main difference is that Off Day is paid, while Rest Day isn't. In consideration of employees' health and well being, MOM emphasises having 1 Rest Day per week; where this Rest Day should not fall on an employee's normal working days.

Does my employer have to provide a rest area? ›

Employers must provide welfare facilities and a working environment that's healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities. You must have: welfare facilities – the right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and having somewhere to rest and eat meals.

Can employer force employee to work on rest day? ›

Your employer cannot compel you to work on a rest day, unless under exceptional circumstances.

Do employees have the right to weekly rest day? ›

91. Right to weekly rest day. – “(a) It shall be the duty of every employer, whether operating for profit or not, to provide each of the employees a rest period of not less than 24 consecutive hours after every six consecutive normal work days.

How many breaks do you get in a 6 hour work day? ›

Ideally, according to the California Labor Law, for a 6 hour shift in California, an employer must provide one rest break of 10 minutes and one meal break of 30 minutes. However, employees can choose not to take those breaks if the choice is made independently without any force or influence from the employer.

Can you work 8 hours without a break in California? ›

Under California law (IWC Orders and Labor Code Section 512), employees must be provided with no less than a thirty-minute meal period when the work period is more than five hours (more than six hours for employees in the motion picture industry covered by IWC Order 12-2001).

Can I sue my employer for not giving me breaks in California? ›

It is possible to sue your employer if they break the California laws for meal and rest breaks and refuse to allow you these breaks during work. In the state of California, it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure all employees are free from work during their rest and meal breaks.

Can I waive my 30-minute break in California? ›

You may legally waive your meal break if you work more than six hours. But you and your employer must agree to it beforehand, preferably in writing.

Can I skip my 10 minute break in California? ›

The break should fall close to the middle of the four hour shift, not at the very beginning or end. Employee's may voluntarily elect to skip their break, but if the company forces the worker to skip the break, that employee is owed one additional hour of premium pay as a penalty.

What is the law on rest and meal breaks in California? ›

Under California law, non-exempt employees are entitled to one unpaid 30-minute meal break, and two paid 10-minute rest breaks, during a typical 8-hour shift. Employees must receive their off-duty meal breaks before the end of the fifth hour of work.

Can I skip my rest break in California? ›

Can I Waive my Rest Breaks? Yes, employees are not required to take a rest break; employers must make rest breaks available. What Else? Rest periods are counted as hours worked; employers cannot deduct pay from time taken for an authorized rest period.

How many breaks do you get in a 12 hour shift OSHA? ›

Rest Breaks:

Employees who work 12 hours per day are also entitled to at least three 10-minute rest breaks. If the employee was not provided any of these rest breaks, the employee is entitled to an additional one hour pay at the regular rate.

Do you get a 15 minute break for working 4 hours in PA? ›

Pennsylvania employers are required to provide break periods of at least 30 minutes for minors ages 14 through 17 who work five or more consecutive hours. Employers are not required to give breaks for employees 18 and over.

What are the hour limits for OSHA? ›

A normal work shift is generally considered to be a work period of no more than eight consecutive hours during the day, five days a week with at least an eight-hour rest.

Do you get a 15 minute break for working 4 hours in Michigan? ›

Are employees required by law to have a meal or break period? There are no requirements for breaks, meal or rest periods for employees 18 years of age or older. Employees under the age of 18 may not work more than five hours without a documented 30-minute uninterrupted break.

Does OSHA have a 16 hour rule? ›

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that a normal work shift is no more than 8 consecutive hours in a day, with each shift split by at least 8 hours of rest. A normal workweek is 5 such work days.

How many hours are you legally allowed to work? ›

Legally, your employer can't make you work more than 48 hours a week, including overtime. If they want you to work more than that, your employer has to ask you to opt out of the 48-hour limit. Find out more about the maximum weekly working time limit.

What is the maximum hours you can work a day? ›

You shouldn't have to work more than an average of 8 hours in each 24-hour period, averaged out over 17 weeks. You can work more than 8 hours a day as long as the average over 17 weeks is no more than 8. Your employer can't ask you to opt out of this limit.

Are employers required to give breaks? ›

If someone works more than 6 hours in a day, they have the right to a rest break of at least 20 minutes. If they work more than 6 hours, there's no automatic right to more breaks. For example, a 12-hour shift does not mean they're entitled to a 40-minute break, but the employer should consider it.

Should I get paid for a 15 minute break? ›

You have no legal right to be paid for these breaks and they are not considered working time. Whether you are paid for them depends on your employment contract. If you start work at 7am you are entitled to take a 15-minute break at 11.30am.

Do you get a 15 minute break for working 4 hours in Ohio? ›

Ohio employers are not legally required to offer rest breaks, except to minors. However, many employers do offer rest breaks as a matter of custom or policy. If the employer elects to provide a rest break, then federal law requires that employees are paid during short breaks of up to 20 minutes.

How many hours at work is too much? ›

So how much work is too much? A recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization shows that working more than 55 hours a week can have negative effects on your health.

What is fatigue at work? ›

In a work context, fatigue is a state of mental and/or physical exhaustion which reduces a person's ability to perform work safely and effectively. It can occur because of prolonged mental or physical activity, sleep loss and/or disruption of the internal body clock.

Can I work 24 hours a day? ›

What is the law in California? Under California wage and hour laws, there is no limit to the number of hours an employee can work in a single workday. They can work the full 24-hour period, if they want to. However, workers who do so are entitled to overtime pay and potentially other benefits, as well.


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