REMINDER; Break Means Break

The California Podiatric Medical Association has received inquires from members regarding employee rest breaks.  CPMA reminders members:

"Employers must authorize and permit uninterrupted rest periods 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. Anything over two hours is considered by the courts to be a "major fraction" of four.

As a general rule, and insofar as practicable, the rest period must be in the middle of the four-hour work period. Though this is the general rule, there is no absolute obligation to permit a rest period before a meal period.

Employers take note: Employers should be cautious about departing from the general rule to provide rest breaks in the middle of each work period and should consult with counsel if practical considerations unique to their industry appear to warrant a departure from the general rule.

Employers must treat rest periods as hours worked, and must pay rest periods as time worked. According to a California Supreme Court decision in Augustus v.​ ABM Security Services, Inc., employers must relieve employees of all duties during rest breaks and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.​"

It is recommended that breaks are taken away from the employee’s desk/work-area; and that breaks are documented, and the records retained. 

(Source: California Chamber of Commerce)