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Your right to breaks and meal periods in hospitality

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | Employment Law

It is very important that hospitality employees receive their proper breaks and meal periods. Federal and state laws set specific rules that employers must follow to protect workers’ rights. If you work in the hospitality industry, it is important to understand your rights.

Federal break and meal period laws

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, federal law does not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (typically lasting 5 to 20 minutes), they must pay for this time. Meal periods, usually 30 minutes or more, are generally unpaid if the employee is free from work duties during this time.

California break and meal period laws

California laws often have stricter requirements than federal laws. For example, state law mandates a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked. Employees must also receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every five hours worked and an additional 30-minute unpaid meal break when working more than 12 hours.

Ensuring compliance

Employers in the hospitality industry must stay updated on state-specific laws. Employers should establish clear policies and training programs to ensure compliance. Managers must schedule breaks according to the law and ensure employees take them. Regular audits can help identify and correct any issues.

Benefits of compliance

Protecting employees’ rights to breaks and meal periods is a legal requirement. If your employer does not allow you to take breaks and meal periods, they are violating your rights as a worker.

By understanding your break and meal period rights under federal and state laws, you can ensure you’re getting the rest you deserve and are protected from potential exploitation. If you have any concerns about your breaks or meal periods, don’t hesitate to speak to your manager or consult the Department of Labor for further guidance.