and Cody Stroman

The California Supreme Court on May 23, 2022, released its decision in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., and, in doing so, placed additional obligations on California’s already burdened employers.

The California Supreme Court specifically held that California employers are required to include premium payments on an employee’s wage statement for any missed, late or short meal period for the pay period that any such premium payment is incurred. In addition to now having to include this information on wage statements, employers are also on the hook for waiting time penalties if an employee misses or takes a late or short meal or rest period and the employer does not pay that employee the premium payment. 

Accordingly, failure to provide meal and rest break premium payments for missed, late or short meal or rest periods can lead to substantial penalties being assessed against California employers. In holding this way, the California Supreme Court’s decision reversed the California Court of Appeal decision which held otherwise. In addition to its holding regarding the treatment of meal and rest period premium payments for purposes of wage statements and waiting time penalties, the California Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision to the extent that it held that unpaid meal and rest break premium payments collect prejudgment interest at the rate of 7% per year.

For additional insight and a practical to-do list for employers, read this detailed analysis by our Labor & Employment colleagues Steven Gallagher, Daniel Kitzes and Nancy Yaffe.