Failure to provide meal and rest period equals TWO violations

By: Ruth Evans, Owner, Evans HR Group

When an employer fails to provide a non-exempt (hourly) employee with a meal period and a rest period in the same day, the 2nd District Court of Appeal has ruled that the employer owes the employee for TWO violations. What is the result? The employer must pay two additional hours of pay the day the rest and meal period were missed.

This decision was reached In United Parcel Service, Inc., v. Superior Court of the State of CA for the County of Los Angeles.  UPS argued that only one premium payment is allowable per work day, regardless of the number or type of break periods that were not provided.  The employees party to the complaint disagreed, stating that Section 226.7 of the Labor Code as well as the IWC Wage Order allows for up to two premium payments per work day—one for failure to provide meal periods and another for failure to provide rest periods.  Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals agreed with the employees.  The Court of Appeal’s “conclusion was based upon the wording of section 226.7, subdivision (b), the  legislative and administrative history of the statute and the IWC wage orders, the public policy behind the statute and wage orders, and also the principle that we are to construe section 226.7 broadly in favor of protecting employees…”

The additional premium pay is paid at the employee’s regular straight time hourly rate.  There is a 3-year statute of limitations for meal and rest period violations.

Just as a reminder, employers must “authorize and permit” non-exempt employees to take a 10 minute rest period in the middle of each 4-hours of work; and are required to provide a minimum of a 30-minute meal period for work periods over five hours. The meal period must begin no later than 4 hours and 59 minutes into the employee’s shift.  For shifts more than 10 hours, employees are entitled to a second 30-minute meal period; however, the second meal period can be waived as long as the first meal period was taken.

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