HR Alert

California: On-Duty and On-Call Rest Periods Are Prohibited

Court Clarifies Employees Must Be Relieved of All Duties During Required Rest Periods

The Supreme Court of California has held that state law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods.

Background
Under California law, employers must generally 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 10 consecutive minutes for each 4-hour work period, or major fraction thereof. The rest period is counted as time worked and, therefore, the employer must pay for such periods.

In a recent opinion, the Supreme Court of California addressed two related issues: whether employers are required to permit their employees to take off-duty rest periods under California Labor Code section: 226.7 and Industrial Welfare Commission wage order No. 4-2001, and whether employers may require their employees to remain "on call" during rest periods.

Impact on Rest Periods
Per the Court's opinion, state law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. During required rest periods, employers must relieve their employees of all work-related duties--including the obligation that an employee remain on call--and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.

Click here to read the text of the opinion. Employers with questions as to the decision's impact on workplace policies and practices are advised to contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney.


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