How to Calculate Paid Breaks (CA & WA)
California (AB 1513)
How it is calculated: If an employee performs any piecework job in the workweek, then all rest breaks shall be paid at the average hourly rate. To calculate the average hourly rate, take the total gross pay for the workweek (excluding breaks, lunches, OT/DT premium) and divide by the total hours for the workweek (excluding breaks and lunches). Multiply the average rate by the total rest periods for the workweek. All breaks throughout the week will be paid at this average hourly rate, even if they land within an hourly job.
- All employees must receive a 10 minute paid break in the state of California for every 4 hours worked.
- Rest breaks must be given as close to the middle of the four-hour work period as is practicable.
- Normal rest periods are given at 2 hours into the workday and 6 hours into the workday.
- California requires that ALL jobs (excluding breaks and lunches) are taken into account when calculating the average hourly rate for the week.
When calculating rest period pay in Washington, Hourly and Piecework jobs are separated.
How it is calculated: Take the total gross piecework pay for the workweek (excluding breaks and lunches) and divide by the total piecework hours for the workweek (excluding breaks and lunches) this will provide you with the average piecework hourly rate for the week, multiply by the total rest periods for the workweek. For all breaks that occur inside of an hourly job, you must pay them at the rate of the job that the break occurs within.
Break Qualification Examples:
Below: Employee 3160 worked from 5:00 am to 3:30 pm and qualified for 2 breaks and 1 lunch
The employee worked for 10.50 hours on this day. Excluding 30 minutes of lunch, the employee had 10 "man-hours".
Below: Employee 3160 worked from 5:05 am to 12:30 pm and qualified for 1 break and 1 lunch
Washington LNI Ruling Examples:
For the above example:
1262 units x $.50 per unit = $631.00 $631.00 ÷ 58 active work hours = $10.88 per hour.
This regular rate of pay is more than minimum wage ($9.47 in 2016 for this example). $10.88 per hour x 2 hours (rest period total) = $21.76.
The worker must be paid this additional amount to compensate for rest periods. $631.00 + $21.76 = $652.76.
The worker must be paid $652.76 in gross wages for the workweek.
For the above example:
1033 units x $.50 = $516.50 $516.50 ÷ 58 active hours of work = $8.90 per hour.
This regular rate of pay is less than minimum wage. The worker must be paid at least minimum wage for all active work and rest period time.
Total hours of work 60 x $9.47 per hour (minimum wage) = $568.20. Because the worker has only earned $516.50 in piece rate, the employer must make up the difference so the worker is paid at least minimum wage.
Other helpful Washington Meal & Rest Period Resources: