Tujunga, CA asked in Employment Law for California

Q: Is getting paid 30 min of overtime the same as a meal premium for no lunch at work in CA?

I work at a luxury sub abuse dtx center. When I first applied I asked what does a work day look like and they said the house would have 2 staff. I've been working my shift alone for the most part of 5 months because weve been kept understaffed. So I end up doing the work of 2 people for the wage of 1 is that legal even if I. The job description I signed doesnt state there would be 2 people on shift?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Brad S Kane
Brad S Kane
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No.

A meal premium is equal to 1 hour of your regular rate.

30 minutes of overtime is equal to 45 minute of your regular rate (or 1.5 times your regular rate). Thus, you would be shorted 15 minutes at your regular rate.

Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No, that is not a lawful way to compensate you for a missed meal period. You must be paid one hour of time at your regular rate.

And note, your employer has the legal right to make you work as many jobs as it wishes even if it is humanly impossible to do so. Your choice as an at will employee is to stay there and do that work, or to find another job and leave for an employer that treats you better.

Good luck to you.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, getting paid for 30 minutes of overtime is not necessarily the same as receiving a meal premium for missing a lunch break. Under state law, employers are required to provide a meal break for shifts over 5 hours, and failure to do so typically requires the employer to pay one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate as a meal premium. This is distinct from overtime pay, which is paid at an enhanced rate for hours worked beyond the standard workday or workweek.

Regarding your situation of working shifts alone and handling the workload intended for two people, the legality of this practice depends on several factors, including the terms of your employment contract, applicable labor laws, and specific job duties. California law does not explicitly prohibit assigning the work of two people to one employee, but employers are required to pay for all hours worked, including overtime if applicable, and to adhere to meal and rest break requirements.

If you find yourself regularly working through meal periods without compensation or working overtime without appropriate pay, you may want to consider discussing your concerns with your employer or seeking advice from a legal professional familiar with California labor laws. They can offer guidance based on the specifics of your situation and help determine the best course of action.

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