Omid Nosrati

What California employees need to know about the 'one day's rest in seven' rule

There are certain wage-and-hour laws with which almost all California employees are undoubtedly familiar regardless of their occupation or their total annual earnings. For instance, most are probably well aware of the new minimum wage ($10.50 per hour for employees of large businesses and $10.00 per hour for employees of small businesses), and that they are legally entitled to rest periods and/or meal breaks depending upon the number of hours they work in a given shift.

While this conscientiousness on the part of California employees is to be commended, the reality is that there are likely other aspects of our state's wage-and-hour laws that are largely foreign to many of them. Indeed, those who work outside the hospitality, retail or service sectors may be unaware of what exactly the Labor Code has to say concerning a mandatory day of rest for employees.

Specifically, it dictates that employees are generally entitled to one day's rest in seven and that employers are prohibited from "causing" their employees to work more than six days in seven.

There are, of course a few notable exceptions to this longstanding day-of-rest rule:

  • Employers are not required to provide the day of rest to those employees who work 30 or fewer hours in a given week, or no more than six hours in any day of the week.
  • Employers are not required to provide the day of rest to those employees whose job duties reasonably require them to work seven or more consecutive days, and who also receive the functional equivalent of one rest day in seven every calendar month.

What makes the one day's rest in seven provision so fascinating is that while it has historically been at the center of virtually no litigation, it's now at the epicenter of a very important case that experts are predicting the California Supreme Court will rule on sometime this year and, in doing so, provide some much-needed clarity.

We'll explore more about this case, Mendoza v. Nordstrom, in a future post.

In the meantime, if you are an employee who firmly believes your employer has violated your rights in any capacity -- from withholding pay to misclassification -- consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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