Controversy Over Lunch Break Laws
A recent appeals court ruling muddies the waters about lunch breaks for workers
Thursday, February 2, 2006
There’s a serious food fight right now over the rules California employers must live by regarding breaks. Governor Schwarzenegger and a court ruling are on one side, and a recent appeals court ruling is on the other.
The questions? Must employers offer regular breaks and meal times to employees … or require that they be taken. And if employees don’t take the breaks, should they be paid for the time? The Governor supported the pro-business view, while unions want an interpretation favoring labor. Back wages hang in the balance, as the Governor, courts and regulators hammer this out. The early January ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeal held, in a test case, that back wages were liable for up to three years…so it’s all on the table once again.