In California, the Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders require that employers must authorize and permit nonexempt employees to take a rest period that must, insofar as practicable, be taken in the middle of each work period. The rest period is based on the total hours worked daily and must be at the minimum rate of a net ten consecutive minutes for each four hour work period, or major fraction thereof. The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) considers anything more than two hours to be a "major fraction" of four." A rest period is not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than three and one-half hours. The rest period is counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods. Since employees are paid for their rest periods, they can be required to remain on the employer's premises during such periods. With respect to the taking of rest periods, an exception exists under IWC Order 5-2001, Section 12(C) for certain employees of 24-hour residential care facilities who may have their rest period limited under certain circumstances. Another exception to the general rest period requirement is for swimmers, dancers, skaters, and other performers engaged in strenuous physical activities who shall have additional interim rest periods during periods of actual rehearsal or shooting. IWC Order 12-2001, Section 12 (C).
For employees in certain on-site occupations in the construction, drilling, logging and mining industries, the employer may stagger the rest periods to avoid interruption in the flow of work and to maintain continuous operations, or schedule rest periods to coincide with breaks in the flow of work that occur in the course of the workday. IWC Order 16-2001, Section 11(A) Additionally, for these employees rest periods need not be authorized in limited circumstances when the disruption of continuous operations would jeopardize the product or process of the work. However, under such circumstances, the employer must make-up the missed rest period within the same workday or compensate the employee for the missed ten minutes of rest time at his or her regular rate of pay within the same pay period. IWC Order 16-2001, Section 11(B) Under Order 16-2001, rest periods must take place at employer designated areas which may include or be limited to the employees immediate work area. See Question No. 9, below, for information on how to file a claim to require your employer to provide time and a place to express milk.
Under IWC Order 10-2001, Section12(C), a crew member employed on a commercial passenger fishing boat who is on an overnight trip shall receive no less than eight hours off-duty time during each 24-hour period. This eight-hour period is in addition to the meal and rest periods required under the Wage Order.
Pursuant to Labor Code Section 1030 every employer, including the state and any political subdivision, must provide a reasonable amount of break time to accommodate an employee desiring to express breast milk for the employee's infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. Break time for an employee that does not run concurrently with the rest time authorized for the employee by the applicable wage order of the Industrial Welfare Commission need not be paid. The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide the employee with the use of a room or other location, other than a toilet stall, in close proximity to the employee's work area, for the employee to express milk in private. The room or location may include the place where the employee normally works if it otherwise meets the requirements of this section. An employer is not required to provide an employee break time for purposes of lactating if to do so would seriously disrupt the operations of the employer.
If an employer fails to provide an employee a rest period in accordance with an applicable IWC Order, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that the rest period is not provided. Labor Code Section 226.7 Thus, if an employer does not provide all of the rest periods required in a workday, the employee is entitled to one additional hour of pay for that workday, not one additional hour of pay for each rest period that was not provided during that workday.
The rest period is defined as a "net" ten minutes, which means that the rest period begins when the employee reaches an area away from the work area that is appropriate for rest. Employers are required to provide suitable resting facilities that shall be available for employees during working hours in an area separate from the toilet rooms.