The California Dental Association (CDA) is reminding dentist employers about the importance of complying with employee meal and rest break rules following the state's recent clarification about monetary compensation for employees who are not afforded such breaks.
A 2022 California Supreme Court ruling in the case of Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services Inc. ruled that employers must treat premium pay for noncompliant meal periods and rest breaks like wages. Otherwise, noncompliant employers could face penalties. California Labor Code section 226.7 states that if an employer fails to provide a meal, rest, or recovery period, the employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of compensation for each workday that the meal or rest break is not provided.
The CDA encourages its members to familiarize themselves with the regulations and comply. It also suggests that employers communicate with employees about the rules, including posting signage in employee break rooms. CDA members can download a poster on the association's website.
The association also recommended that employers communicate these regulations to employees during staff meetings, including discussing any barriers to employees taking timely breaks.
Finally, the CDA also suggested that compliance with such regulations could mitigate risk within dental practices related to overworking employees, which could lead to making mistakes or the mistreatment of customers and coworkers.