The California Supreme Court has recently clarified in its Mendoza v. Nordstrom, Inc., ruling the law regarding employees’ rights and employers’ obligation to provide a day of rest to an employee after six days of work. Here are the noteworthy points:
- A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. However, periods of more than six consecutive days of work that stretch across more than one workweek are not per se prohibited.
- The exemption for employees working shifts of six hours or less applies only to those who never exceed six hours of work on any day of the work week. If on any day of any given week an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided during workweek, subject to whatever other exceptions might apply.
- An employer causes its employee to go without a day of rest when it induces the employee to forgo rest to which he is entitled. “Induce” is an inherently vague term, but it clearly means a lower standard that “forces”. This potentially means that rewarding or offering to reward employee for skipping a day off after six days of work is likely illegal.An employer is not, however, forbidden from permitting or
allowing an employee, fully apprised of the entitlement to rest, independently to choose not to
take a day of rest. This is in stark contrast to some of the other laws, including minimum wage laws, where an employer must pay at least minimum wage even if an employee agrees to work for less.
For more information on the day’s rest law, please refer to California Labor Code sections 551, 552, and 556.