Clarification on the “Day of Rest” Requirement for California Employers

Employees in California must receive at least one day off per week (“day of rest”) under California labor law.  This is not a new requirement, however the California Supreme Court recently clarified how the “day of rest” rule applies.

The court stated that employers must allow a day of rest in each workweek. The workweek is defined by each employer, generally in the Employee Handbook. The rule doesn’t indicate that the employee receives at least one day off in any seven day period. So, for example, if an employer has a workweek defined as Sunday through Saturday, an employee could have Tuesday off one week and then Friday off the following week. This means the employee would be working nine days in a row, but the employer is still in compliance with the day of rest requirement because the employee is getting one day off in each workweek. 

Part time employees who work shifts of six hours or less are excluded from the day of rest requirement. This means that part time employees can be scheduled all seven days of a workweek so long as they don’t work any more than six hours during each shift. If an employee works even a few minutes more than six hours on any of their shifts in a workweek, they are required to receive a day of rest.

Employees can choose to waive their day of rest, but they must do so voluntarily with no pressure from the employer. Employers should not penalize employees who do not waive their day of rest nor should they provide an incentive to employees who do choose to waive the day of rest. If an employee does choose to waive their day of rest, the employer may want to have the employee put their request to waive the day of rest in writing to avoid any future allegations that the employer forced the employee to work all seven days.

If you are an employer in California, make sure you review your current policies and procedures to make sure you are in compliance.