California Employers Must Pay Commissioned Employees Separate Rest Break Pay

In California, employers are required to provide non-exempt employees with a ten minute paid rest break for every four hours worked or major portion of four hours worked (defined as anything more than two hours). A California appellate court ruled on February 28, 2017, in Vaquero v. Stoneledge Furniture LLC, that employees paid on a commission basis must be separately paid for legally required rest breaks if their wages are only based upon commissions earned – an employer cannot claim that commissions cover the pay for rest breaks. This applies even when employees have commission agreements where they are paid draws based on their hours worked that are recouped from future commissions. While the defendant employer has sought review by the California Supreme Court, the court currently has until July 7th to decide whether to grant or deny review.

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