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Rest Period Cannot Be Less Than 10 Minutes

March 11, 2001

Q At work they deduct two minutes from our breaks every time we use the restroom. Is this legal?

--B.A., Carlsbad

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A Your right to break periods is governed by the Wage Order applicable to the industry in which you work. That Wage Order should be posted at your work site.

Most of these regulations require employers to provide each nonexempt employee a 10-minute rest period toward the middle of every four hours that the employee works. Some employers provide rest periods longer than 10 minutes.

If your employer provides rest periods of exactly 10 minutes, it may not deduct two minutes from your 10-minute rest period for each visit to the restroom. However, if your employer provides rest periods that are longer than 10 minutes, it may deduct two minutes from your rest period for each visit to the restroom so long as you never get a rest period of less than 10 minutes.

--Deborah C. Saxe

Management attorney

Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe

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If you have a question about an on-the-job situation, please mail it to Shop Talk, Los Angeles Times, P.O. Box 2008, Costa Mesa, CA 92626; dictate it to (714) 966-7873; or e-mail it to shoptalk@latimes.com. Include your initials and hometown. The Shop Talk column is designed to answer questions of general interest. It should not be construed as legal advice. Recent Shop Talk columns are available at http://www.latimes.com/shoptalk.

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