Meal periods are a must in CA. These two charts* clarify when the meal periods should be provided. If the total hours worked for the day are no greater than 6 hours, then an employee can waive the 1st meal period. If total worked hours for the day are greater than 6 hours, the 1st meal period cannot be waived - a 30 min meal period must be provided no later than the end of the 5th hour.
Additional information available at http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_MealPeriods.htm
* The charts above are from the 2017 Cal Chambers Labor Law Digest