SACRAMENTO Calif. A bill that could discourage employees from suing restaurants over California’s strict meal and rest break regulations moved a step closer Wednesday to becoming law when a state Senate committee unanimously approved the measure.
Class-action lawsuits seeking damages from restaurants and other employers for violating the rules on employee mealtimes and breaks have been common in California during recent years. Under the current labor code, a non-exempt employee cannot work for more than five hours without being provided with 30 minutes of downtime for a meal. Under the bill that was approved Wednesday, employers would have more flexibility about when a meal period could be granted. SB 1539, proposed by Democratic Sen. Ron Calderon of Montebello, also provides more leeway for employer and employee to agree upon the right time for rest breaks, and exempts collective bargaining agreements from prevailing break regulations.
The measure — dubbed by some newspapers as the Rest When It’s Best bill — is supported by the California Restaurant Association.