In California, employers are obligated to give employees, who work more than five hours a day, at least a 30 minute uninterrupted meal period. However, if an employee works only six hours a day, working without a meal period is permitted if there is a written agreement between the employer and employee.
In the same context, employers are obligated to give employees who work more than ten hours a day, two meal periods. If an employee works less than twelve hours a day, the second meal period may be waived if there is a written agreement between the employer and employee.
Employees should be relieved and free from all duties during the meal period. Employers should not limit or restrict what employees can or cannot do during the meal period and employees should be allowed to leave the work premise during said meal period. Therefore, meal period is not considered as work hours and thus, can be unpaid. However, if employees are not provided with an uninterrupted meal period, relieved and free from all duties, they are entitled to one hour pay for their missed meal period.