California Supreme Court Clarifies “Day of Rest” Statutes

In the recent opinion Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc. (Case No. S224611, May 8, 2017), the California Supreme Court answered unsettled questions about the state’s day of rest statutes, Labor Code sections 550 – 558.1. These statutes prohibit an employer from causing its employees to work more than six days in seven without taking a day of rest, but do not apply when an employee’s total hours of employment do not exceed 30 hours in any week or 6 hours in any day.

In Mendoza, the Court ruled as follows:

  • – A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. Periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one workweek are not per se prohibited.
  • – The exemption for employees working shifts of 6 hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the workweek. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during that workweek, subject to whatever other exceptions might apply.
  • – An employer causes its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he or she is entitled. An employer is not, however, forbidden from permitting or allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to take a day of rest.

With the court’s ruling in Mendoza, employers must ensure their break policies are in compliance with the law. Read on to learn more.