The California Court of Appeals recently held that California employers may not combine required 10 minute rest periods into one larger rest period absent justifiable circumstances, further clarifying the California Supreme Court's decision in Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, which had held that employers were not always required to provide a rest period before a meal break (suggesting that they may in fact be combined).
The California Legislature originally authorized the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) to issue wage orders governing wages, hours, and working conditions for workers in various industries and occupations. Although the IWC has since been defunded, the wage orders still generally hold the force of law in California. Under those wage orders, employers must provide all employees with a 10 minute paid rest period for every four hours, or major fraction thereof, worked. If an employer fails to provide a required rest period, the employer must pay a wage penalty equivalent to one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period was not provided.
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