California Supreme Court Announces Meal and Rest Period Premiums Must Be Paid at the “Regular Rate of Pay”California’s meal and rest break premium laws have always been a little confusing.  Now, with the most recent California Supreme Court ruling, those laws are a little more clear.  You may be wondering what this new ruling means for how you are paid  meal or rest break premiums for missed, late, interrupted, or untimely breaks at work. Consulting with a California employment lawyer can be beneficial when trying to gain legal advice on topics like pay.

Blackstone Law is a leading employment law firm in Los Angeles. Our team of award-winning employment lawyers is well versed in the rules and policies of California law. They can help you by providing legal advice or helping you build an employment case if you feel you are being treated unjustly at the workplace. 

Meal and Rest Period Premiums Must Be Paid as Regular Pay

For an ordinary eight-hour shift, employees must be given thirty-minute uninterrupted meal breaks and two ten-minute uninterrupted rest breaks.  In some circumstances, additional breaks are required for longer shifts.  If an employee misses their breaks, takes shorter breaks than are required, or has their breaks interrupted, California law requires the employer to pay a “meal period premium” for each such situation, which equates to one hour of pay.

The question is at what rate?  On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court, in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, clarified the correct way of calculating the one extra hour of premium pay owed to employees if their employer does not correctly provide them with a meal period or rest break or interrupts them during their breaks.  In that case, the Supreme Court affirmed that premium payments must include not just their base rate of hourly pay, but also must integrate their non-discretionary earnings into that rate of pay.  Under California law, this holding aligns with the well-established formulas already used to calculate overtime payments. In other words, employees must be paid at the “regular rate of pay” for all meal period and rest break premium payments. 

The California Court held that this decision is to be retroactive, meaning that it affects payments to employees that had taken place before July 15.  In light of the Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC decision, employees should evaluate their paystubs to ensure that they have been paid correctly.  These paystubs can be difficult to understand, so feel free to reach out, we can assess it for you free of charge.  There are many employers clearly violating the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC

What Is Ferra’s Impact on California Employers?

Employees should be aware of their rights and the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC provides key details for employees to consider:  

  • Premium rates:  Hourly employees should consult their paystubs to ensure premiums are being paid not just at your base hourly rate, but the rate must also include all non-discretionary commissions or bonuses.  While that may seem insignificant, it adds up.    
  • Understand regular rate calculations: Regular rate pay is no longer issued only during the weeks that employees work overtime. You should make sure that you are being paid these amounts for missed, late, untimely, or interrupted meal and rest breaks.

If you are unsure of changes you may need to make to your company regarding Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC, consult with a California employment lawyer to provide you with knowledgeable legal advice, free of charge.

Leading Los Angeles Employment Lawyers Can Help You

If you feel you may not be appropriately compensated for meal and rest periods by your employer, or if you are just not sure, you should speak with them regarding the recent ruling by the California Supreme Court.  

Blackstone Law is a team of award-winning employment lawyers with experience helping employees who have endured countless wage violations.  We offer our clients top-of-the-line care and strive to treat each client like family.  To speak with one of our talented employment lawyers or intake professionals, schedule a free consultation here or call (310) 956-4054.