Law Regarding A Day’s Rest After Working Six Consecutive Days Is Clarified

The following are the key points of California law regarding entitlement to a day’s rest after working more than six consecutive days that both employees and employers should know:

  • California Labor Code sections 551 and 552 generally guarantee workers a day of rest after six days of work.
  • A day of rest is guaranteed for each workweek. An employer is not prohibited from employing workers for more than six consecutive days that stretch across more than one workweek.
  • There are two main exceptions that are not covered by this rule: (a) an employer does not have to comply with this rule with respect to any employee who worked no more than six hours on each and every day of that week. If on any one day an employee works more than six hours, a day of rest must be provided for that week (assuming other exceptions don’t apply); and (b) the obligation to provide a day’s rest does not apply to emergency workers, operators of trains, in in other situations where a job reasonably requires an employee to work more than six days in a row. These types of employees should still receive an amount of days of rest per month equivalent to one days of rest after six. The exception are covered in Labor Code section 554.
  • While an employer is not to induce or encourage an employee to forego a day’s rest, an employer is not prohibited to allow an employee, who is aware of his right to day’s rest, to independently choose not to take it.

A violation of Labor Code § 552 allows employees to recover per-pay period penalties under two provisions of the Labor Code.  Labor Code § 558 allows employees to recover $100/pay period and Labor Code § 2699.5, separately, provides a $200/pay period penalty as well as recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.  Both of these sections have one-year statute of limitations.