The Industrial Welfare Commission defines a split shift as a work schedule that is interrupted by a non-paid, non-working period established by the employer that is not a rest or meal period. (See IWC Wage Order No. 5, Section 2). If an employee initiates a break in his or her work schedule for personal reasons (for example, to accommodate childcare or personal business), that interruption is not considered a split shift since the break was not established by the employer.
When an employer requires an employee to work a split shift, the employer must pay the employee a split shift premium, which is one hour’s pay at minimum wage in addition to the employee’s regular earnings paid for that shift. If an employer pays the employee more than minimum wage, the employer is only required to pay the minimum wage rate, not the employee’s regular rate, for the split shift premium.
Additionally, if an employer pays the employee more than minimum wage, the excess will be credited toward the split shift premium. It should be noted that, while the Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders have not set a required minimum length of time between split shifts, the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement (DLSE) has historically considered a break longer than one hour to require a split shift premium.
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