California labor laws are considerably different than those which govern the rest of the country. If you are a worker in California, it is very important for you to be aware in the ways that California law favors you.
Overall, California employment law is much more permissive for employees than federal law is. An example of this is with required lunch breaks. According to the State of California, assuming that a worker works more than 5 hours in a day and they are non-exempt, they must receive a 30 minute lunch break.
Can I work on my lunch break?
Most of the time you may not work on your lunch break. If the employer is adhering to California law, you must be able to leave your place of work for the full 30-minute break period in order for the lunch break to be legally on-point.
However, exceptions do exist to this. In certain work situations, it may not be possible for you to leave your place of work for the entire meal period. For example, a barista working alone at an airport kiosk would not be able to take a full 30-minute break without shutting down the kiosk. In these cases, the employee may choose to sign a waiver stating their willingness to be available on the meal break.
Can I waive my lunch break?
You may waive your lunch break in very specific circumstances. If you have been working more than 5 hours but not longer than 6 hours, you may choose to waive your lunch break if you wish. But if you are working more than 6 hours, you may not decline the lunch break.