DLSE Reverses Its Position on California Rest Breaks
In November 2017, the California Labor Commissioner’s office, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”), published updated guidance on employer provided paid 10-minute rest breaks. Specifically, the DLSE maintains that employees must be relieved of all duty during rest breaks, and now has taken the position that employees must be permitted to travel off-site during their ten-minute rest breaks. The DLSE also noted, “As a practical matter, however, if an employee is provided a ten minute rest period, the employee can only travel five minutes from a work post before heading back to return in time.” The DLSE’s guidance further advised that employers are prohibited from requiring employees to monitor pagers or radios during rest breaks.
This decision follows the California Supreme Court’s decision in Augustus v. ABM (2016) 5 Cal.5th 257, which holds that security guards cannot be deemed to be on duty-free rest breaks when they are required to carry pagers and respond to emergencies on an “as needed” basis.