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Does employment law entitle me to a second meal break?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2022 | Employee Rights

In California, meal breaks are a fundamental part of a worker’s day. This is a right under employment law. A worker who does not get a meal break during a shift of certain duration has the right to make a legal claim. However, people are frequently unaware of their legal right to have a second meal break depending on the length of the workday. Whether they are deprived of this because they did not know about it or due to willful action by the employer, it is imperative to understand how to ensure their legal rights are followed and be compensated if they are not.

Meal breaks under California law

Employees should know when they can get their meal breaks. The first meal break should come at least in the sixth hour of a person’s work when they work more than five hours in a day. For a conventional eight-hour workday that starts at 9 a.m., their lunch break would come at some point after 2 p.m. However, not every job is eight hours and people who work beyond a certain number are entitled to have a second meal break.

If the workday starts at 9 a.m., there was a meal break before 2 p.m. and the worker goes beyond 10 hours in the workday, they should get a second meal break. This should come prior to the tenth hour they have worked. When workers are deprived of any meal break – first or second – they can receive an hour of pay for every day in which they did not receive their meal break. Those who do not get the break and do not receive payment for it can file a wage claim. There is a three-year statute of limitations in which the claim must be filed.

Workers who do not get their meal breaks should know their options

Any worker can be victimized in this way regardless of the work they do, where they come from and if they were born in the United States or not. Regardless of the job and the situation, employers should be made to treat workers as they should be under the law. When wrongdoing has happened, it is important to have help with pursuing compensation. Discussing the case with those experienced in all areas of employment law can be critical.


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