HR Alert

California Clarifies Employers' Obligations Regarding Rest Periods

California Clarifies Employers' Obligations Regarding Rest Periods

Employees May Leave Premises During Rest Periods

California has provided updated guidance addressing rest periods. Highlights of the guidance are presented below.

Updated Rest Period Guidance
Under the updated guidance, an employer generally cannot require that an employee stay on the work premises during his or her rest period. According to the state, the employer cannot impose any restraints not inherent in the rest period requirement itself.

During rest periods, employers must relieve employees of all duties and relinquish control over how employees spend their time. However, as a practical matter, if an employee is provided a 10-minute rest period, the employee can only travel 5 minutes from a work post before heading back to return in time.

The guidance also clarifies that on-call rest periods are generally prohibited. However, this determination is unique to rest period on-call time and does not apply to other types of on-call issues such as on-call shifts or on-call meal periods, which are subject to different requirements and considerations.

Background
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 4 hours worked (or major fraction thereof). As far as is practicable, the rest period should be in the middle of the work period.

As different rules may apply based on industry, California employers should review the updated guidance in its entirety. Employers with questions as to the guidance's impact on workplace policies or practices are advised to contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.


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