New Standard for Paying Missed Meal and Rest Period Premiums

Are you aware of the new standard set by the California Supreme Court in July 2021 confirming the rate employees must be paid for missed meal and rest period premiums (MPP and RPP) is the regular rate of pay, not the base hourly rate.  Click Here for a brief overview of the basic meal and rest period rules, the requirements for paying MPP and RPP, an explanation regarding the new standard requiring MPP and RPP to be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, as well as our tips for what to do now in light of the new standard and the fact that it is retroactive

We wish we were bringing you good news, instead of news of this ruling, which is certain to create added stress for many of you.  However, we can commit to being there for our Clients as they follow these 3 steps:

  1. Do you need to change your rate?  You should determine whether paying your employees MPP and RPP at the RRP actually requires you to make any adjustment in the amount you pay depending on your compensation structure. 
  2. Do you actually need to pay MPP and RPP?  You should review your practices to ensure that you know when you actually need to pay MPP and RPP.  To satisfy your obligation to provide compliant meal and rest periods, employers must actually relieve employees of all duty, relinquish control over their activities, permit them a reasonable opportunity to take timely, uninterrupted and complete meal and rest periods (during which they are free to come and go as they please), and must not impede or discourage employees from taking their meal and rest periods.  Employers who automatically pay MPP or RPP without regard to the circumstances at issue are likely paying for MPP or RPP when they are not required to do so.
  3. Do you need to audit previous MPP and RPP?  Unfortunately, the Ferra decision is retroactive, which means that any MPP or RPP that were not paid at the correct rate for the last 3 to 4 years may give rise to a claim.  You should consider conducting an audit and consulting with your employment law counsel to determine whether you should correct any underpayments now, rather than waiting to see if any of your current or former employees pursue a claim.