Does my employer have to give me a break?

On Behalf of | Oct 29, 2022 | Employment |

California is an employee-friendly state, meaning the laws generally provide many benefits to workers over employers. Plus, legislation often stands up for employees to create a healthy work environment.

One of the ways the state laws benefit employees is by requiring employers to give them paid breaks.

General rule

For most employees, the law requires an employer to provide a break near the middle of that employee’s work day. The length is worth ten minutes for every four hours of work. Anything over two hours is a four-hour period according to the law. All workers who work over three and a half hours get a break of at least 10 minutes. The employer must pay the worker for this break.


The law does provide exceptions for work environments where it may be impossible to allow for regular breaks or where breaks could interrupt the workflow. These workers still can get the breaks, but they may not be near the middle of the work day.

Other points

The law does not require a designated break room. It also allows employers to say where you can take a break. The employer does have to provide longer break periods for those who are pumping breastmilk. In addition, they must provide a designated area for pumping. But the employer does not have to pay for this time. It is separate from the required paid break time.

While many states do not require employers to give employees any breaks, California is different. Employers must give at least a ten-minute break and the law requires them to pay the employee for the rest period.