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Breaks vs. Split Shifts California

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  • Breaks vs. Split Shifts California

    Today is January 1, 2011. This started a new rule (apparently based on a new law) regarding breaks at the restaurant my husband works at. He used to get a 2 hour or so break between lunch and dinner service. He is being told now that he can't take a break longer than 59 minutes, or they have to pay him for a split shift. While this sounds reasonable, I am curious if this new law also applies to corporate offices as well. I run a call center, and due to Friday meetings, we give reps a 1hr 15min lunch on Fridays. Does this mean I have to start paying for split shifts?

    I have tried looking on the california labor law website to no avail. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you!!

    (Sorry for the lengthy description)

  • #2
    This has been a law in California for years. The DLSE has opined that anything more than an hour is, in fact, a split shift, and it is not limited to restaurants. It applies to general occupations as well.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      Interesting

      Do you happen to know the code for this law? I haven't been able to find it, and my boss is looking for me to find it....

      Thanks for the info to date!x

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      • #4
        http://www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/IWCArticle4.pdf
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          Article you sent

          Thank you for the document, however I have a question again....

          The document defines split shift as, "'Split shift' means a work schedule, which is interrupted by non-paid non-working periods established by the employer, other than bona fired rest or meal periods".

          Meal periods are defined as only being an unpaid time when employees have been released of all duties for at least 30 min, there doesnt appear to be a length maximum.......

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          • #6
            The "split shift" rules are very poorly documented. The mention in the Wage Order is the only official mention. Wage Orders are industry specific regulations, so it is indeed "law", just extremely poorly written law.

            The "one hour rule" associated with split shifts is what CA-DLSE's opinion on the matter is. On the one hand, CA-DLSE opinions are not "law". On the other hand, their opinion counts for a lot more then everyone else's put together, because it is all that matters in an administrative hearing. If one instead takes the matter to court, CA-DLSE's opinion does not become "nothing" but courts are somewhat less impressed by CA-DLSE opinions then CA-DLSE is.

            I understand that you are looking for more coherent rules here. As are we all. But in the mind of CA-DLSE, a "lunch hour" of more then one hour is a considered to be a "split shift". Meaning that if your employees file a wage claim with CA-DLSE based on some employer (say you) claiming that a longer then one hour lunch is just a long lunch and not a "split shift", then it is extremely likely that CA-DLSE will find in favor of your employee, because that is how they have called this in the past.

            Anything past this you really need to take up with CA-DLSE directly. This is the rule because CA-DLSE says it is the rule. That is really all there is to it. The regulation (Wage Order) on the other hand (such is it is) was written by CA-DIR. CA-DLSE is basically the enforcement arm of CA-DIR, sort of like the "Wage and Hour Division" is to "federal Department of Labor".
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              It is what it is....

              Pattymd & DAW,

              Thank you both for all the help and clarification. As always, gotta love the "letter of the law"! I appreciate you taking the time to clarify it all for me! This was VERY helpful! Happy New Year to you both!

              Sincerely,
              della95

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