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Do security guards get breaks under California law?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Wage & Hour Law

Most employees in California do have a right to take specific breaks. For instance, for every four hours that someone works, they should get a rest break for 10 minutes. If they have to work more than five hours, then they should also be given a meal break. This can last for 30 minutes. Workers who have to put in more than 12 hours in a single day should get a second meal break, which is another 30 minutes.

In some occupations, this is very easy to do. An office worker can simply take a break from whatever they are doing on the computer, eat their lunch and then return to their desk. They could take rest breaks and talk to coworkers or colleagues before getting back to work.

But in other occupations, it can be more difficult and employers may even tell workers that they’re not allowed to have breaks. For instance, if someone works as a security guard, they may be told that they cannot have a break because it would be a safety issue. Is this true?

The law applies to the majority of employees

As a general rule, no, this is not true. Though there are some rare exceptions, the majority of employees in California are covered under these laws, and that includes security guards. They should still get rest breaks and meal breaks on the schedule that is noted above.

If the employer is concerned about safety issues while the guard is on break, they could hire multiple security employees and have them work in shifts. This way, someone is always on duty while the other guard is taking a break. But the employer cannot simply deny those breaks in violation of the worker’s rights, and employees may be able to take legal action if this occurs.