Law Behind Meal and Rest Periods
The laws governing meals and rest periods vary. For example, certain state meal and rest periods are specific to minors. These requirements mirror state restrictions on the hours during which minors are also allowed to work. Below we discuss meal and rest periods in relation to California and Wisconsin.
California Meal and Rest Periods
In California, unless you are exempt, you are entitled to an uninterrupted 30-minute meal period for each shift over five hours. A second meal period is required after ten hours. Should your employer fail to provide the opportunity for a meal period the law requires them to provide you with an extra hour's worth of pay (meal time premium).
These same employees are entitled to a ten minute rest period for every four hours of work or major fraction thereof. Failure to provide the opportunity for one or all of your rest breaks requires that your receive one additional hour's worth of pay (rest period premium).
Wisconsin Meal and Rest Periods
Employees over the age of 18 in Wisconsin are not entitled to rest or meal periods. However, if your employer provides you with the opportunity for a break, they must continue to pay you unless the break is thirty minutes or more.
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