Employers need to be aware of meal/rest break laws and the consequences of not providing employees with required meal and rest breaks. In California, when an employee is unable to take their meal break, the employer owes the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Additionally, if both the meal and break(s) are missed in one work day, you would owe two hours of additional pay.

An additional requirement in California is that the payment for missed meals or breaks constitutes wages that must be itemized on the employee pay stub or payment voucher. This will happen automatically in your Datatech software when you follow the instructions detailed here.

For specific details on this subject, please use the following resources:

CalChamber.com – CA Meal Break & Rest Break Law

DIR – Meal Periods

Other states may have similar required payments when meal or rest breaks are not taken by employees.

The latest update for The Farmer’s Office and The Labor Contractor’s Office includes a new feature to support calculating the regular rate of pay for these missed meal/break payments. To download the latest update, go to Tools > Check for Updates.

Paying Missed Meal & Rest Breaks Setup

If you need to pay an employee for a missed break using Datatech software, please follow the instructions below. Setup is required before creating a check with this type of pay in order to properly track and pay the regular rate of pay. 

Wage Type Setup

Start by setting up a new Wage Type for missed meal and rest breaks. You can create one new wage type for Missed Meals and one for Missed Breaks, or one for Missed Meals and Breaks

    1. Go to Payroll > Setup > Wage Types.
    2. Enter a two-digit Code for your new Wage Type.
    3. Enter a Description (e.g. Missed Meal Period, Missed Break, Missed Meal and Break.)
    4. Select Piecework from the Base Pay Type drop-down. Piecework is used as the Base Pay Type because the hours worked by the employee are already paid on a separate line that records the total time worked. The line to pay the missed meal/break should not add to the hours worked.
    5. Uncheck the Include in Regular Rate of Pay Calculations box. These payments are premiums required by law and not included in computing the regular rate of pay for overtime purposes. See DLSE manual
    6. Adjust any other settings required and click Save.
missed meal wage type

Note: If you are creating two separate Wage Types for Meals and Breaks, repeat steps 1-5 for the second Wage Type. 

Rest & Recovery Definition Setup

Next, you will need to add this new pay type to the Rest and Recovery/Non-Productive Time Definitions grid. The program uses these entries to determine which line items on the check are designated as missing meal/breaks. Then, the program can update those lines with the appropriate pay rate. 

A new line should be added for the missed meal period and break types (and optionally, the combinations of Job ID’s, Cost ID’s, and G/L#’s that will be used for these types).

    1. Go to Payroll > Setup > Rest and Recovery Time.
    2. Enter the Wage Type Code you just set up. (If you created two wage types, then you will need to create two separate lines here as well.) 
    3. If you want to use different Job Codes, Cost Centers, or G/L #’s for missed meal/break time, you can enter those now. 
    4. Select Missed Meal/Break from the Type drop-down.
missed meals rest and recovery definition

Entering A Check With A Missed Meal or Break

Finally, when you are ready to pay an employee for a missed meal or break, follow these steps. (For this example, the employee was not able to take their meal break.) You can enter checks through Daily Payroll Entry or Batch Payroll Check Entry.

Follow the instructions below for the window where you will be entering the check.

Batch Check Entry

    1. Go to Payroll > Checks > Check Entry.
    2. After entering the line item for the employee’s workday, add an additional line for the missed meal/break.

      Do not enter a number in the P/W Hours column.

      Enter a 1 or 2 in the Units column depending on whether you are paying the employee one hour for the missed meal/break or two hours for both a missed meal and a missed break in California.

      In other states, you may need to pay the employee for different amounts of time. For instance, to pay a 30-minute penalty, enter .5 for the Units.

    3. Make sure to enter the Wage Type set up for missed meals/breaks.
    4. Click Breaks and select Calculate R&R Pay Rate. This will update the rate for the missing meal or break with the regular rate of pay.

Daily Payroll Entry

        1. Go to Payroll > Daily Payroll Entry.
        2. Enter the header information, Account #, Pay Period Dates, etc.
        3. After entering the line item for the employee’s work day(s), add an additional line for the missed meal/break.
        4. Make sure to enter the Wage Type set up for missed meals/breaks.
        5. You will need to temporarily enter a rate. This will be re-calculated with the regular rate of pay in step 6.
        6. Once you are finished entering the lines for the check, right-click anywhere on this window and go to Reports > Print Batch Report.
        7. On the Daily Payroll Batch Report window, enter your starting/ending dates along with any other needed information. 
        8. Select Calculate Rest and Recovery Pay Rate. Then, under the Rest & Recovery Pay Rate section:

a. California employers would then select Regular Rate of Pay.

b. Washington employers would select Ave. Hourly Piece Rate. 

Note: If you are paying straight hourly wages and do not have separate break lines but you do have missed meal/break payments, you still need to select Calculate Rest and Recovery Pay Rate. The same calculation is used for both the rest and recovery pay rate and the missed meal/break period pay rate. Selecting this box activates that calculation and will update the missed meal period lines with this rate.

9. Click Preview. You will now see the regular rate of pay that has been calculated for the missed meal. 

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