Under California law no employer shall employ any person for a work period of more than five (5) hours without an off duty meal period of not less than 30 minutes, except that when a work period of not more than six (6) hours will complete the day’s work the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee. Unless the employee is relieved of all duty during a 30 minute meal period, the meal period shall be considered an “on duty” meal period and counted as time worked.
An “on duty” meal period shall be permitted only when the nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the parties an on-the-job paid meal period is agreed to. Further employers must keep time records showing whether meal periods are taken. Failure to comply with the meal period laws subjects the employer to liability for one hour of pay for each violation.