Meal Breaks

Under California law employers are required to provide employees with at least one thirty (30) minute meal break if they work in excess of five (5) hours in a day. If an employee works more than ten (10) hours in one day then they are entitled to a second meal period of at least thirty (30) minutes. During this meal break an employee cannot be performing any duties of work and must be permitted to leave the premises, otherwise the meal period counts as time worked and should be compensated accordingly. Please note that there are some exceptions to the rule regarding meal breaks.

If an employer fails to give an employee the appropriate meal break under the law, an employee may be entitled to recover one (1) additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each workday where a meal break was not provided.

The statute of limitations under the Federal Fair Labor and Standards Act is two (2) years, but it is extended to three (3) years for “willful” violations. The statute of limitations for missed meal period claims under California law is generally four (4) years from the time the compensation was due.


Tumber Law Firm is based in San Francisco, California. Our attorneys represent clients in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Monterey, Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano, Marin, and Sonoma Counties. Tumber Law Firm protects clients from retaliation, discrimination, and harassment involving dismissal, demotion, or denial of accommodation based on age, race, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation, marital status, association, physical or mental disability, or other legally protected classifications. Additionally we represent employees if they have not been paid the proper wages including overtime or minimum wage, or those not given the proper meal and rest breaks. If you believe that your rights have been violated, CONTACT US to setup your free consultation to discuss this matter. We take cases on a contingency basis and collect no attorney fees unless we win your case.