Skip to main content

Employment Practices

Balancing the roles of healthcare provider and employer can be a challenge. Get advice on how to write job descriptions, create applications, place help wanted ads, set meal breaks, establish alternative work schedules, and terminate an employee.

Meal and Rest Break Policy

September 21, 2021 7683

Employer considerations:

  1. It is the employer’s responsibility to communicate the meal and rest break laws to employees in writing.
  2. Employers are required to provide and encourage employees with rest breaks, but are not required to ensure they are taken. Employers are required to provide employees with meal breaks AND ensure they are taken. Employees should be discouraged from performing off-the-clock work during rest or meal breaks.
  3. Employees should be required to record the beginning and ending times of their meal breaks. The timekeeping system should record the actual hours of the employees meal break (no rounding). 
  4. The employee may waive his or her meal period if the day’s work will be completed in no more than six hours, provided you and the employee mutually consent to the waiver. It is a best practice to have this waiver in writing, but it is not required. 
  5. Since the rest break time is paid, the employee does not need to clock out. However, employers may want to consider having their timekeeping records reflect that the rest break was provided to the employee.
  6. Regularly audit your timecard records to determine whether employees are accurately reporting time and/or if there is a pattern of employees working through breaks.
  7. Educate scheduling coordinators and managers about their obligations relating to meal and rest breaks and discipline those who do not follow policy. Train employees not to interrupt employees during breaks.
  8. Inform employees that they should notify their employer or manager if they have been denied the opportunity to take a meal or rest break. Employees should not be required to report this only to their direct supervisor, as it may be the supervisor who is discouraging them from taking the break.
  9. Properly document missed meal and rest breaks.
  10. The employee’s meal break must occur no later than four hours and 59 minutes after the employee’s start time.
  11. Employees who are not provided a meal or rest break or are prevented from taking a meal or rest break are entitled to a missed meal or rest break premium of additional one hour of pay for each incident (The maximum penalty for missed meal breaks and missed rest breaks is two hours of pay per day, no matter how many meal or rest breaks were missed in the day). The additional time should be provided to the employee on the next regularly scheduled payroll date.
  12. Employers must provide employees uninterrupted time, relieve their employees of all duties during required rest periods and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.
  13. Employees may not be prohibited from leaving the premisis. 
  14. Consistently discipline employees who do not return from breaks within the required time. This is a disciplinary issue, not a pay issue. You still need to pay them appropriately.
  15. Should an employee’s time be interrupted, employers may reasonably reschedule a rest period when the need arises.
  16. Such circumstances should be “the exception rather than the rule.” If a rest period is interrupted, an employer can provide another rest period to replace the interrupted one or pay the premium pay of one additional hour of pay for the missed rest break.

For more information on meal and rest break laws visit California Department of Industrial Relations

It is an employers responsibility to have these specific policies in place. Vague or misunderstood policies put your practice at risk.

Sample_Meal_And_Rest_Break_Policy and Waiver
Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Ordinances by City/County

Individual cities and counties across California have passed local ordinances relating to minimum wage and sick leave laws — with eligibility rules varying from city to city. Check with local city government as to whether any local minimum wage ordinances may apply to employees in your practice. Periodically check local websites as rates in these cities could change at any time.  

Interns and Volunteers

Employers should proceed with caution when using unpaid interns or volunteers. Most interns are considered employees in the eyes of the law, which means you must comply with wage and hour laws, including paying them at least minimum wage.

CFRA Guidance

Dental practice owners should be aware and prepared for major changes to California’s Family Rights Act that go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.

Learn more


End of Year Updates for Your Practice

What you need to know to keep your practice compliant and avoid legal risks in 2021.


Employee Manual Resources

Create a personalized employee manual using an online tool or a sample employee manual.

General New Hire Toolkit

This toolkit covers recruiting, interviewing, hiring and onboarding, and provides a general list of basic hiring documents. If you are hiring a temporary employee or associate dentist, you will also need our additional hiring toolkits.

View General New Hire Toolkit
Hiring Associates Toolkit

Associates may be classified as either an independent contractor or an employee. This toolkit includes information to help you determine how to hire an associate.

View Hiring Associates Toolkit
Hiring Temporary Employees

Short-term employees are considered employees by the State of California and require additional documentation. This toolkit covers hiring, paying and terminating temporary employees.

View Hiring Temporary Employees Toolkit

View Hiring Temporary Employees Toolkit

Resource Library

Access an online library of downloadable articles, guides, templates, checklists and forms.

Employment Practice News

Federal OSHA and CMS vaccination rules impact few California dentists

The U.S. Supreme Court last week blocked one federal vaccination mandate for larger employers and upheld another for specified workers nationwide. But regardless of enforceability, the federal rules apply to very few California dental practices, which instead must comply with the stricter state or local vaccination mandate.

Handle with care: Minimizing risk with short-term and traveling patients

A variety of situations can prompt patients who are not local to seek dental care while they are temporarily visiting or residing in your area. As the “secondary“ general dentist, you have more liability exposure than the dentist who is performing their routine dental care. Discover how to mitigate risk when you choose to treat these patients.

A magnifying glass is hovering over the word Most employers in California will begin paying higher minimum wage Jan. 1, 2022

Nearly all employers in California will begin paying their employees a higher minimum wage — either the new state or local minimum wage, whichever is higher — in the new year. Effective Jan. 1, the state minimum wage for employers with 25 or fewer employees will increase to $14.