In Augustus v. ABM, the California Supreme Court recently found that California law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. The Court held that:
“During required rest periods, employers must relieve their employees of all duties and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.”
In short, rest periods must now be treated the same way as meal periods. Employees should not be asked to perform any duty during their rest break. And employees should not be restricted from leaving the work premises during their rest break.
California law entitles employees to one rest break for workdays that are between three and a half and six hours, and two rest breaks for workdays that are between six and eight hours. Employees who are not afforded these or a 30-minute meal break for workdays longer than five hours are entitled to one additional hour of pay for each violation.
As interruptions sometimes do happen, the Court indicated that that interrupted rest breaks should be rescheduled. However, the Court further commented that interruptions should be the exception, not the rule.