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Do you deserve meal breaks if you’re a remote worker? 

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Wage & Hour Law

In California, although there are some exceptions, most workers deserve meal and rest breaks during the day. For instance, if your workday exceeds five hours, you need to have at least a meal break and a rest break. You’re entitled to 30 minutes of unpaid time to eat, rest or do whatever you want to do, and your employer can’t require you to do your job during the break.

But what if you work from home? Computers and the Internet have made remote work far easier and more popular than it has ever been before. Many workers find that there is no reason for them to be in an office building when they can simply work with their team remotely. If you are working from home, can your boss refuse to give you meal breaks?

These breaks are still mandatory

No, your employer cannot refuse to let you have the breaks that you are owed under state law. Unless you are an exempt employee, you deserve those breaks, whether you’re in an office building or working remotely.

For many remote workers, this isn’t an issue because they can simply take their breaks whenever they want. However, it could become an issue if your employer tries to take more control over your schedule. 

For instance, say that the company starts using computer monitoring software to track the exact minutes when you are working. If they refuse to let you have the proper breaks and step away from that screen, that’s a violation of your rights, even though you are working remotely the entire time.

What options do you have?

Fortunately, there are employment laws to protect you in California. You just need to know exactly what legal options you have if your employer has been violating your rights.