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California Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under Sections 500-511 of the California Labor Code, as well as section 11010 of the California Code, nurses are entitled to time and one-half pay after working eight hours in any 24-hour period. After working 12 hours in any 24-hour period, nurses are entitled to double their usual pay per hour. As calculated on the weekly scale, nurses working longer than 40 hours in any seven-day span are entitled to time and one-half pay. After the 8th hour on the seventh day, the nurse is entitled to double his or her usual pay. This Code section does not apply to any employee who voluntarily agrees to an alternative work schedule reflecting for 10-hour workdays per workweek if such schedule was established prior to July 1, 1999.

Under Sections 512 and 1030 of the California Labor Code and sections 11010 and 11160 of the California Code, nurses are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid meal break after five hours of consecutive work unless the work day will be complete in six hours or less. In addition, nurses working 10 or more hours in a single day are entitled to two 30-minute unpaid meal breaks unless the work day will be no longer than 12 hours. In that case, the second mandatory meal break may be waived provided the first meal break was not waived. California law permits nurses to eat while on duty provided the nature of their work requires this type of situation. Employers are required to provide a paid ten-minute rest break for each four hours worked unless the shift is 3.5 hours or less.
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