LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Jacob Iraj Kiani

Sample California Meal Period Policy

Los Angeles Meal Period and Meal Break Law Attorneys

Law Office of Jacob I. Kiani

Meal Periods

The Company's policy is provide all non-exempt employees with the required meal periods, as required by law. Employees must take their meal periods; they are not optional and can only be waived by the employee under certain limited circumstances. All non-exempt employees must clock in and out or otherwise record (using a time sheet or other electronic recording method) the actual time taken for meal periods every shift.In cases in which the Company is required to provide employees with meal periods, these meal periods must be for an uninterrupted period of at least 30 minutes. In no instance can your meal period be less than 30 minutes. Employees must be relieved of all duty for the duration of the meal period, and employees are free to leave the premises during meal periods. If an employee's meal period is interrupted for any work-related reason, the employee must report such interruption to the Company and the employee must restart the interrupted meal period so that a full 30 minutes can be taken in one block.

Timing of Meal Periods:

  • For shifts of five (5) hours or less, there is no meal period required.
  • Meal periods for employees working shifts of more than five (5) hours:

    • Must begin before the fifth (5th) hour mark of the shift. For example, an employee who starts work at 8:00 a.m. must start his or her meal break no later than 1:00 p.m.
    • May be waived at the request of the employee if, and only if, the total hours worked in the day does not exceed six (6) hours.
    • An employee waives the meal period by advising the employee's supervisor, in writing, EACH time he or she wants to waive a meal period. The supervisor has the discretion to permit or deny each such request and shall note his or her decision in writing on the request itself.
  • Second meal period for any employee working more than ten (10) hours:

    • Must begin before the ten (10) hour mark of the shift.May be waived at the request of the employee if, and only if, the total hours worked in the day does not exceed 12 hours and the first meal period was taken in accordance with the policy. An employee waives the second meal period by advising the employee's supervisor, in writing, EACH time he or she wants to waive a meal period. The supervisor has discretion to permit or deny each such request, and shall note his or her decision in writing on the request itself.
    • Employees must accurately record the start and stop times of their meal periods.
    • Employees must immediately report to their supervisor or Human Resources if they are unable to take a required meal period for any reason, or if a meal period is interrupted for any work-related reason.
    • Meal periods may not be combined with rest breaks, nor may the be used at the end of a workday to allow an employee to leave early.

Additional resources provided by the author

Wage and Hour Law Glossary of Wage and Hour Terms Overtime Law FAQ Link to Overtime Law sections of CA Labor Code Which Wage Order? Index of Businesses and Occupations for Wage Order Classifications Waiting Time Penalties FAQ Deductions from Wages FAQ Minimum Wage FAQ Pay Periods and Final Wages FAQ Reporting Time Pay FAQ Tips and Gratuities FAQ Employee Handbook Resources Top Five Social Media / Internet Use Policies for an Employee Handbook Free HR Downloads Basic Employee Handbook Download Five Key Workplace Policies Every Employer Should Know Free Discipline Policy Free Non-Discrimination Policy Free Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Form Free Termination Procedures Guide Human Resources Law - General CalChamber HR California Useful Table of Which HR Laws Apply to California Employers Link to Free New Hire Forms Paid Family Leave Poster Social Security Number Verification Service Sample Technology and Cell Phone Policy Paid Family Leave Brochure Unbundled Legal Services Unbundled Legal Services Legal Document Review Service Legal Advice by Telephone Attorney Prepared Online Legal Documents Legal & Court Coaching Service Meal and Rest Period Law Meal Period and Rest Break Basics Free Human Resources Forms Free California Human Resources Downloads

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