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Understanding your rights when it comes to work hours

On Behalf of | Jan 31, 2024 | Wage And Hour Disputes

As an employee, you should be aware of your rights concerning work hours. California boasts comprehensive labor laws that prioritize your well-being and fair treatment in the workplace.

Whether you clock in for a standard 9-to-5 shift or work an unconventional schedule, it is important to understand the nuances of work hours.

Standard work hours

The typical workweek for employees is 40 hours, with a standard of eight hours per day. If you are a non-exempt employee and you find yourself working beyond eight hours in a day or exceeding 40 hours in a week, you must receive overtime pay. This means compensation at a rate of 1.5 times your regular hourly wage for those additional hours.

Break times

Your employer must give you meal and rest breaks during your shifts. For every five hours worked, you should receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break. Additionally, you should get a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked. The intention of mandatory break time is to give you a chance to take a breather and recharge.


If you ever find the need for a modified work schedule or alternative work weeks, state law supports your right to request them. This flexibility can be especially helpful if you have specific responsibilities, such as caring for your family or dealing with health-related matters.

On-call and waiting time

Your time is valuable. Your paycheck should include compensation for on-call or waiting time, even if you are not actively working. The law acknowledges this, ensuring that you receive fair treatment for your commitment and availability.

Your rights

If your employer falls short in adhering to these work hour regulations, they face potential penalties. These can include back wages, interest and additional damages. By understanding your rights, you empower yourself to advocate for fair treatment and maintain a positive work environment.

When it comes to your work hours, stay informed, be aware of your rights and do not hesitate to assert them when necessary.