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Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know

Do you get a lunch break? What about a coffee break? How many hours do you work in a week? Think your employer is violating labor laws? Let’s answer your questions!

Basic introduction

Disclaimer: As of this writing, I am not a licensed attorney. This article is for general education only. If you need legal advice, consult a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction.

This article focuses on U.S. law. If you are in another country, hopefully it will give you some ideas to consider and a basic education on general labor laws.

Your employer must follow several sets of laws. Federal labor law applies to all employers in the United States. Each state also has its own additional requirements. Finally, the city in which you work might also have rules for your employer to follow.

Because of the many laws in question, this article gives a basic overview. It then provides links for more information about each state.

Hour limitations and overtime

Federal law requires overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours in a week. This means your employer must pay 1.5 times your normal hourly rate for hours over 40.

Many of the key issues for this topic are exactly what time counts as “hours worked.” The focus is basically whether or not you are doing regular work duties. If so, that is working time that must be paid.

Here are two good examples: 1.) A receptionist regularly eats lunch at her desk, but still answers the phone and greets customers. This is working time. 2.) Paid firefighters play cards at the firehouse while waiting for an alarm. This is working time as well.

For specific answers to your questions, check out Department of Labor pages on hours worked or overtime pay.

Summary – Overtime pay (rate * 1.5) for hours over 40.

Lunch requirements

Under federal law, your employer does not have to provide lunch or coffee breaks. Also, your employer does not have to pay you for lunch breaks that you are given.

However, your state might have mandatory meal breaks. The requirements vary, but many employees are guaranteed a 30 minute meal period per shift. To qualify, your shift will generally need to be 6 hours, and maybe even 8 hours long.

These states require meal periods: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.

To find your state’s requirements, consult the Department of Labor’s chart on meal periods.

Summary – Some states require. Not paid.

Coffee Breaks

Like meal periods, the federal government does not require coffee breaks. However, any short breaks (usually 5-20 minutes) that you are given must be paid.

A few states give you a right to short breaks. In these states, you generally get a 10-minute break for every 4-hour shift. These states include: California, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

For your state’s requirements, the Department of Labor has a handy rest period chart.

Summary – Some states require. If given, must be paid.

Minimum wage

The federal minimum wage is currently $5.15. Unless you are a tipped employee, your employer must pay you at least $5.15/hour for every hour you work.

Tipped employees must be paid at least $2.13 per hour. If your hourly rate plus tips doesn’t meet $5.15/hour, your employer must make up the difference.

Note: As of July 24, 2007, the federal minimum wage will be $5.85 per hour.

Many states add extra requirements to the federal minimum wage. Your employer might have to pay more than $5.15 per hour. As of this writing, Vermont has the highest minimum wage: $7.53 per hour.

For the minimum wage in your state, consult this state minimum wage law chart by the Department of Labor.

Summary – At least $5.15 per hour.

Labor website for every state

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Other labor law resources

Federal government

United States Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division


Wage Law
Workplace Prof Blog
Women’s Rights Employment Law Blog
George’s Employment Blawg
Labor & Employment Law, HR Law

Anything else?

If I didn’t cover the topic you’re interested in, let me know. And if I made any mistakes here, please correct me.

Drop a comment down below!

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179 Responses to “Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know”

  1. Manila Mom
    June 7th, 2007

    US federal law does not require employers to provide meal breaks? Now that’s a surprise!

    I’m self-employed and work at home, and I guess I’m the worst employer. I often skip meals or eat in front of the laptop. I do unpaid overtime often till dawn. There’s no one to sue but myself, though. But I won’t have it any other way :-D

  2. Andrew Flusche
    June 7th, 2007

    Hi Manila,

    It sounds like you’ve got a great job. I’d much rather work from home than worry about nit picky labor laws. But don’t forget to pay yourself!

    Thanks for commenting,

  3. [...] post on U.S. labour laws by Andrew Flusche who’s a law student taking his bar exam really soon. It talks about some [...]

  4. [...] Great Find: Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know [...]

  5. SpiKe
    June 11th, 2007

    It’s scary the amount of hours I did at my last job basically for free, despite apparently getting paid on an hourly basis. I could go into a big, long rant about that company and their poor policies, but this is not the place :D

    I think in the UK you have to get something like a 15 min break for every 4 hours of work by law (correct me if I’m wrong?). It’s interesting how this differs to the US.
    Organize IT

  6. Andrew Flusche
    June 11th, 2007

    Hi Spike,

    Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m glad you shared the UK requirement with us. It’s definitely interesting how laws differ around the world.

    You just gained a new subscriber to your site!

  7. shaz
    June 12th, 2007

    nice blog (checking through all the nofollow blog community).

  8. Shelley Rosenberg
    June 12th, 2007

    you can work full time if you’re 17 once you recieve your GED, but can you work night shift, past 11:30?

  9. Andrew Flusche
    June 12th, 2007

    Hi Shelley,

    I honestly don’t know the answer to your question. I’m sure it would depend upon where you are working (what state and city). My hunch is that a 17-year-old could work pretty much any hours. But if you have a specific need to know, the best solution is to consult a local attorney.

    Thanks for commenting!

  10. Chris
    June 14th, 2007

    I used to be an HR Lead for a major department store chain. We were told that according to law…we had to give a 15 minute break, if the associate was scheduled for four hours or more, commencing prior to the end of four hours, and a lunch break (off the clock), if the associate was scheduled for more than 5 hours, with the lunch break required to start prior to the hour five. I was even required to give verbal/written reprimands for violations and explain that an audit could result in a monetary fine for the offending store, on a per violation basis.

    I now work for another chain store and the requirements are totally different. A 15 minute break is still given if scheduled for 4 hours, but you have to work more than 6 hours to qualify for a lunch break.

    Is the difference in policy due to following break laws of different States? Everything I have read says there is no Federal Law governing Lunch breaks, so could one chain be following California Law and the other chain be following Pennsylvania Law? The major chain is a international chain, my current employer is a NE US/Midwest US Chain.

  11. Andrew Flusche
    June 14th, 2007

    Hi Chris,

    My conjecture is that your former employer had a more strict policy than the state law required. Since you said it is a national chain, I’ll bet they adopted a lunch policy that meets the requirements for all states in which they operate. That way the company can be uniform, it’s easier to administer, etc.

    In essence, I think you’re right that the companies are following different state laws. But as long as they’re both meeting the minimums in the states where they operate, they’re doing fine.

    Thanks a ton for your great comment,

  12. bill
    June 17th, 2007

    just curious, i am a salaried employee. i was require to work 43 days straight without a day off. then again i was required to work 46 days with out a day off. i have taken some days off as “comp” time. my questions are, by law can they do this? are there any limits as to how long they can make you work, without time off, as a salaried employee? at what point is it considered abuse?

  13. Andrew Flusche
    June 18th, 2007

    Hi Bill,

    This is a pretty detailed, fact-specific question. Honestly, it would be best for you to consult a local attorney if this is an ongoing problem. Many attorneys will talk to you for a few minutes for free, to help assess your case.

    With that said, I don’t know of specific laws that require days off for salaried employees. Although I might make that a future post. In the meantime, consider talking with someone in your company, such as HR or a supervisor.

    Sorry I can’t be more helpful right now.

    Thanks for your comment,

  14. jodi
    June 26th, 2007

    andrew maybe you can assist me i am an employee in west virginia i work 40 hour weeks for a telemarketing co trying to work my way through nursing school the problem is alot of times we will go into work and maybe work for an hour and get sent home is there a certain amount of hours we
    should be getting paid for for going into work or is it legal to just pay for one hour of work ive asked my company manager and cant get a straight answer some one told me they have to compensate us for 2 hours in wv

  15. Andrew Flusche
    June 26th, 2007

    Hi Jodi,

    I’ll show my ignorance now and admit that I hadn’t heard of this type of requirement before. From a quick bit of research, it looks like Canada and Australia both have minimum hour requirements for days you are scheduled to work.

    I haven’t heard of anything similar here in the United States. My best advice would be for you to contact the West Virginia Division of Labor. From their website, it looks like Sandra Cunningham from the wage & hour division would be able to help you. Her number is 304-558-7890.

    I would love to hear what you find out, and I wish you the best of luck.

    Thanks for commenting,

  16. Chris
    June 26th, 2007


    As I stated in an earlier comment, I used to be a local HR lead for a department store chain. With us, any time an associate was called into work, or scheduled to work, if they showed up, and were sent home with less than 3 hours worked, they had to receive 3 hours pay for their shift. For more than 3 worked, an associate got paid for time worked.

    It was probably similar to the lunch break situation. A national chain sets policy to meet the most stringent State Law, then all stores are in compliance with local law, no matter where the stores are located.

  17. Andrew Flusche
    June 27th, 2007


    Thanks for adding your experience here. That’s what I love about blogs!!

  18. [...] Lunch , Break , and Hour Laws You Should Know [...]

  19. Nick Kasoff
    July 5th, 2007

    These laws are a joke. Back when I had a real job (it has been a while), there were plenty of occasions where my employers had mandatory training, meetings, and other such things during lunch breaks or after work. We were never paid for our time, though they were sometimes generous enough to provide a sandwich. If anyone had objected, they would have been terminated with cause – and of course, the cause would have been something other than the objection. It sure is swell that we have those laws, though.

    Nick Kasoff
    The Thug Report

  20. Sarah
    July 8th, 2007

    I manage a small coffee shop. I am currently writing a policies and procedures manual for the store. I would like to have an updated break policy but all of the information I find seems to contradict something else. I am curious about the requirements I have to meet to be in accordance with state law. Quite a bit of my employees work a simple four hour shift. Generally starting at 7:00am and ending at 11:00am. Am I required to give them any sort of a break during that four hours either paid or unpaid? Also what is the policy for a seven hour work day? I feel that a break should be provided, but the powers that be (The owners) beg to differ. Can you help me out?

  21. Sarah
    July 8th, 2007

    P. S. Andrew, I live in Illinois. And I love how user friendly this site is.

  22. Andrew Flusche
    July 15th, 2007


    My apologies for such a delayed response. I hope this still helps you out. Studying for the bar exam is a real drag!

    Since I’m not an attorney yet, I cannot comment too much on the specifics of your question. I apologize for that, but I don’t want to break any ethical duties before I even take the bar exam.

    With that said, there’s a handy page from the Illinois DOL that will answer these questions. This gets to the heart of it:

    An employee who is to work 7 1/2 continuous hours or more shall be provided an unpaid meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after beginning work. Illinois has no law regarding breaks.

    For more detailed information, you should contact the Illinois DOL itself, or you could consult an attorney licensed in Illinois.

    I’m glad you like the site, and I wish you the best of luck with your policy manual. It’s great to make sure things are formalized to help clear up misunderstandings.

    Thanks for commenting,

  23. rachellewilson
    August 8th, 2007

    my husband (in the state of texas) works 53 hours a week but gets no overtime pay because its his normal schedual. he gets a one hour lunch but no breaks not even two minutes even though he is out in the heat. is this legal?

  24. Andrew Flusche
    August 8th, 2007

    Rachell – I can’t really give you specific advice on this situation. The best thing to do is contact the Texas Workforce Commission. Generally, for a non-salary employee, overtime should be paid for any hours over 40 per week.

  25. Lloyd
    August 9th, 2007

    I am an hourly employee in Florida. I work in a deadline sensitive job, that means my employers make us work anywhere from three hours straight to ten hours straight without a break. Is this legal even though Florida doesn’t have a break law?

  26. Andrew Flusche
    August 9th, 2007

    Lloyd – I’m not aware of any laws that set a maximum work day length. These types of laws exist for youth and certain occupations (ex: truck drivers), but typically they don’t apply to jobs at large.

    Your best course of action is to call a labor attorney in your area.

  27. derrick mccrae
    August 16th, 2007

    we work 8-12 hours and no breaks

  28. Ginger
    August 25th, 2007

    I live in West Virginia and I work 10-12 hour days. My employer only gives me a half hour unpaid lunch break and sometimes he has us to cut our lunch short. When he has us take a 10-15 lunch break, we do not get paid for it. I thought that in WV, for every 8 hours of work you had to be given 2 15 minute paid breaks and a half hour lunch. It was also to my understanding that if you took a lunch break that was under 20 minutes, you were supossed to get paid for it. I’m not sure of my state laws and I cannot find any information on the internet. Can you please help me find the answer? Thanks a lot.

  29. [...] subscribe to my RSS feed.Or, you can get free email updates.Thanks for visiting!Over at our main lunch, break, and hour law post, a reader just posted a great question. I decided that it deserved a full answer in a separate [...]

  30. Andrew Flusche
    August 25th, 2007

    Hi Ginger,

    Thanks for your comment. I decided to write an educational post on West Virginia lunch and break laws. You can check it out here: West Virginia Lunch and Break Laws.

  31. Derek
    August 27th, 2007

    My daughter just started preschool, and I asked my manager if I could take my lunch hour break at 1:45 one or two days out of the week instead of my usual 12:00, so I can go pick her up and drop her off with her Grandmother. My manager said “Probably not a good idea since you would be gone in the middle of the afternoon”. Is there a law as to a time period that a lunch break needs to be taken?

  32. Andrew Flusche
    August 27th, 2007

    Derek – This might surprise you, but many states don’t even require lunch breaks at all. I don’t believe Florida has mandatory lunch breaks. That leads me to your question. I don’t think there’s any law that would apply here. Your employer most likely has discretion about when you take lunch.

    With that said, it’s surprising that your manager won’t let you take lunch a bit later to pick up your daughter. Have you considered a more formal request? Perhaps you could take the issue to a higher person in the company.

    Thanks for the question. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

  33. Derek
    August 28th, 2007

    And you know what the clincher is…….. this is coming from a lady who works a reduced schedule (9-3) so she can pick her daughter up. Is that justifiable?

  34. Derek
    August 28th, 2007

    So she can pick her daughter her up from school…..

  35. Andrew Flusche
    August 28th, 2007

    Derek – Your manager sounds a bit hypocritical on that point. But it’s not against the law to be a hypocrite. If it was, we’d all be in trouble. :)

  36. Ms. Felix
    September 5th, 2007

    I’ve got a question about the length of a work shift. My mom works for a company in Texas that sometimes keeps her there for 14 hours at a stretch, without meal breaks (no meals is legal in TX, no big surprise). I can’t find information about the legal length of a shift. It seems over-the-top to require staff to remain on the job for 14 hours with just a couple of coffee/cigarette breaks.
    Thanks for whatever you can let me know. (pls email me when there’s a response–I forgot to check the box.)

  37. Andrew Flusche
    September 6th, 2007

    Ms. Felix – To my knowledge, there aren’t usually laws that regulate the length of shifts for adults. Some specific industries have regulations, such as truckers – maximum hours on the road. And there are usually laws that regulate the hours of adolescents.

    I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help,

  38. [...] The top post for September (actually, since I published it) is Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know. It’s definitely a popular post, as are my other posts on labor [...]

  39. Sam
    October 3rd, 2007

    I have a few questions regarding your post. A little bit of situational history is required to set up the questions, bear with me here; I am a consultant (filing as a 1099) for a consulting company based in Connecticut, I’m currently on a project that requires me to be overseas in the UK, Netherlands, and Scotland. We are on a four-week on one-week off rotation (i.e., four weeks overseas and then one week home, weekends off while overseas). While here we work 50hrs a week for the four weeks, no overtime. Then fly home (company paid for/reimbursed) for our week off. While on our week off we get paid 40hrs for it, taken from our four 50hr work weeks (10 extra hrs. per week x 4 = 40hrs). Additionally we do not receive a paid lunch period or break period for our 10hr day. My question are as follows:

    1.Since I am working overseas for an American based company am I entitled to American labor laws?

    2.Am I entitled to receive overtime for those 10hrs extra each week?

    3.Since the company is incorporated in Connecticut am I entitled to the “½ hour after first 2 hours and before last 2 hours for employees who work 7½ consecutive hours or more.� As shown on the U.S. Department of Labor website?

    Thank You,

  40. Patty
    October 8th, 2007

    I am appalled at all the people who responded to this particular question? How can we say that we live and work in the land of the free when we can’t even get treated decently at our place of work. I work for a government agency and I belong to the AFGE union, we have a 15 minute break, non-payed, for every 4 hours we work. The only shift longer than 7.5 hours not entitled to a 30 minute lunch, is the night shift, and they still get their 2-15 minute breaks…Why would you work for a place where they can’t treat you better? I would never work longer that 8 hours without a “real” lunch. Your body is not made to handle such lengths of time without some kind of real food and time to rejuvenate. It can’t possibly be healthy. FOR ANYONE! Sorry to be so long winded.

  41. Andrew Flusche
    October 9th, 2007


    Work breaks are obviously a sensitive and important issue for a lot of people. You’re right that we all deserve real lunch breaks during a full day’s work.

    Thanks a ton for your comment!

  42. Michael
    October 20th, 2007

    As an employment attorney in Massachusetts, I found this article to be very informative and one that is full of information that I reguarly inform my clients. The fact that Massachusetts is an employee friendly state, creates many issues where employees have so many rights that they simply are not aware exist. For example, many people do not know about the Massachusetts Wage an Hour law, where if you are not paid all of your hourly wages upon termination, you are entitled to up to 3 times what was owed to you. I look forward to reading many more articles in the same light.

  43. Bear
    October 20th, 2007

    I recently began a job, in the state of Mississippi. While waiting for this job to start giving me hours, another employer called and practically begged me to come work at her gas station, giving me sad stories about how she can’t keep employees and I was her first choice.

    Well I agreed to help her for a little while if she could work around the schedule of my other job a few days a week.

    Turns out she posts her schedules on wednesday, when everyone else’s goes from sunday to saturday- and is usually posted on a friday. So there was no way I could get her my schedule before she started writing hers.

    She did not train me for anything, and then started saying I owed her money for things that had been shoplifted- by security guards of all people.

    This is where the legal question comes in:
    The manager called and harassed my other employer, which was what they claimed was the deciding factor in them firing me. So now with this crazy lady being my only job, and a child due any day, she fires me.

    You see- I worked night shift, 9 1/2 hours (atleast) straight with no meal break. The morning I got fired (for like the 3rd day in a row) the girl who came in after me did not come in. So I worked from 11pm, to 11am the next day, no break…. And I was not even scheduled for this night, but she would not let me leave my shift the day before until I agreed to work this night shift.

    Then, because I was oddly scheduled for 1pm, I assumed she would have someone cover my shift, since I had not slept in days, and had just worked a 12 hour shift, and only had time to go home and come straight back.

    But no, 1:15 she starts calling my home, just as I’ve fallen asleep, when I calmly try to ask her if there are any other options she simply says that I shouldn’t bother ever coming back to her store, and hangs up on me.

    Now I’ve come down with a bout of pneumonia, I have no health insurance, and no money. My 40 weeks pregnant fiance’ had to go all the way to town to pick up my check, but the woman refuses to give it over unless I come in to the store in person, meanwhile my car has completely run out of gas 3 miles from my home and I have no money, and my car payment is due.

    Surely SOMETHING is illegal here. Can anyone help me?
    (appologies for the long story, I promise I left out a great deal)

  44. Michael
    October 22nd, 2007


    As your issue falls outside the jurisdiction to which I am familar, I am not sure if the employment laws are similar. However, if you were in Massachusetts, I might suggest a potential common law tort claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress and intentional interference with advantageous contractual/business relations. You might be well advised to seek the counsel of an employment attorney in your state.

  45. Andrew Flusche
    October 22nd, 2007

    Michael – It’s great to have any employment lawyer stop by! People really do need education about their rights. So many people are simply in the dark, and they haven’t had the opportunity to learn.

    Bear – I’m going to defer to Michael’s great response here. It sounds like you have a complicated situation, and it would be best to consult with a local employment lawyer in your area. Your initial meeting might be free (find out up front), so you don’t have much to lose.

  46. Lee
    October 23rd, 2007

    I work at a tire store and complete auto care in Arizona. I work from 7:15 A.M to 5:30 P.M. Mon. – Fri., Saturdays 7:15 – 4:00. Sundays off. I am sore from head to toe, tired all day no matter how many hours of sleep I get. I only get half hour, unpaid lunch break if im lucky to take one, and lucky to stop for 10 seconds for one sip of cold water in 110 plus degree temperatures, at the end of the day ending up suffering from heat exhaustion. So if by law its half hour to an hour lunch and two 10 – 15 breaks. where can i find a rest chart or break chart for Arizona via internet or in writting. I wanna know my rights as an employee in Arizona.

    Thank you for your help and time.

  47. Andrew Flusche
    October 29th, 2007


    Sorry to say, but I don’t think Arizona requires meal or rest breaks. You can check the links above for the US Department of Labor meal and rest breaks. I don’t see Arizona listed.

    Thanks for your comment!

  48. wendy
    November 20th, 2007

    My Boyfriends Manager Is not allowing him or offering him a lunch break, if he does not get a lunch break his manager edits his time and takes 30 minutes out for a lunch he never took, its that ok??

  49. anabelle
    November 27th, 2007

    my friend works in Illinois. according to Illinois law they are legally required to get a 20 minute meal break. however, they eat at their desk and have a kitchen with no adequate space to eat and cannot go out for lunch. in addition they must work 50 hours a week and they are salaried. does my friend have any legal way to handle this situation or should they quit?

  50. Michael
    November 28th, 2007

    One way to guarantee a lunch break if it is medically required is to make a reasonable accommodation request pursuant to title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act. If you need such an accommodation to perform the essential functions of your job.

  51. patrick
    December 10th, 2007

    i smoke cigarettes, and where i work it’s usually a 7 hour shift. My bosses tell me that there is no such thing as a smoking break where i work. isn’t that against the law???

  52. AboutToBolt
    December 11th, 2007

    Hi there!
    I have a question about those of us who are classified as “exempt”…..basically it means we receive the same salary if we work 40 hours a week that we do if we work more. No overtime pay for us.

    My question is, that often times these jobs require being “on-call”. Now during the job interview they may have said 1 week per month, when in actuality its at least 2 weeks per month of pager carrying 24×7—(where we cannot leave our homes because we must respond via phone and internet within 5 minutes!!)
    This horrible ball and chain referred to as on-call plus regularly putting in long days during the “normal” shift has us working 55 to 70 hours per week, EVERY week—its just expected.
    I wont even bother to say that most days we dont get breaks let alone lunch (unless you count scarfing some fast food down over the laptop as lunch).

    I know they wont pay us overtime due to our exempt status—but are there any laws that say how many hours overtime they can force us to work ?
    Thanks for any info you might have. Hell I feel better having just typed all that out—insane isnt it?


  53. [...] Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know [...]

  54. Andrew Flusche
    December 15th, 2007

    Patrick – Check out the body of the post above. No state has mandatory “smoking breaks,” but some do require lunch breaks or other short breaks during a shift. Without more info, there’s no way to answer the question specific to your job.

    AboutToBolt – I don’t know of specific limitations on hours worked for exempt employees. If you work for the government, you might get mandatory compensatory time. But I don’t think private employers have this obligation.

    If either of you need actual legal advice, be sure to consult an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

  55. Misty
    December 17th, 2007

    Hi Andrew,
    I heard that in the state of West Virginia, if you work more than 30 some hours a week for like a month, then your employer is required by law to hire you on as full-time. Is this true?? I looked for the law on it, but they have so much stuff to look through and I don’t have the time to read it all. I’m currently hired on as a “sub”, yet I work more than some of the full-time emplyee’s. Also, can my employer get in trouble for allowing some of the emplyee’s certain privilages and not others?? To me that would be considered unfair, and discrimination considering that they’re breaking their own rules just do this.
    Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated.

  56. Andrew Flusche
    December 18th, 2007


    Unfortunately, the issues you describe probably aren’t illegal. But I’m not licensed to practice in West Virginia.

    With that said, if your employer is simply favoring some employees over others, there’s not much (if anything) you can do legally. But if you are being harassed or otherwise forced to be in poor working conditions, you can probably seek legal redress.

    Thanks for commenting,

  57. Kelly
    December 28th, 2007

    By law,in California, is it ok to take your 30 mins lunch break and the 10 mins coffee break together?(meaning you take one 40 mins break a day.) Is it not ok to do so?
    If my employer tells me that I am not allow to combin those breaks together, is it legal?

  58. Andrew Flusche
    December 28th, 2007


    Based on the federal Department of Labor charts that I link to above, I don’t think employers in California have to allow this.

    Say you work an 7 hour shift. You’d be entitled to a 30-minute lunch break after the 5th hour. And you get a 10-minute break for each 4 hour shift. But California doesn’t specify that you can take the breaks together. In fact, the 10-minute break has to be close to the middle of each 4 hour shift. So your employer might not actually be able to let you combine the breaks.

    I hope this is helpful.


  59. Will Sellers
    January 15th, 2008

    Hi, I have a question I hope you can shed some light on. I work for a big oceanographic institution on the east coast and spend up to 5 months a year at sea supporting science. we have a very hectic schedule out there and sometimes sleep is at a premium and many times I have gone more than 24 hours without sleep and my employer expects this. I do not know what regulations regarding rest periods apply here as we are in international waters and I am not a member of the ships crew and may not be subject to Coast Guard regulations. Would my state regulations apply? (Mass.)
    I hope you can help. Thanks Will

  60. Ben
    January 22nd, 2008

    I have a question, Large company with technicians working in every state in the country. Good Company to work for, but now has mandated a Manditory lunch period of 30 minutes that is unpaid. As technicians we argue that we cannot always take a lunch period, and opt to not or to be done a half hour earlier in the day as our standard day went from 8 hrs to 8.5 to cover this time.
    They claim it’s a federal requirement…….out of their control…… what do you think???

  61. Andrew Flusche
    January 23rd, 2008

    Will – That’s definitely a question that is out of my league. It would be best to contact a lawyer in your jurisdiction, or post your question on a site like LawGuru.com.

    Ben – There is no mandated federal lunch break. But if your employer provides (or requires) a lunch break, it doesn’t have to be paid. I would guess that your employer has created this policy to meet varying state laws. They’re going with the most restrictive requirement, so they will be in compliance in every state.

  62. Loree
    January 24th, 2008

    Perhaps you can help me….. I am a manager at a retail clothing store. Most of the part-time/seasonal employees we hire are high school or college students. Upon being interviewed, they are informed that we DO NOT guarantee any specific amount of hours per week, especailly once the peak season is over. Because the holidays are over, most of our part itme employees have not been scheduled to work over the past month. I had the parents of one employee threaten to report me to the Texas Workforce Commission because not giving their daughter hours is against the law. I have looked everywhere for information on the matter, but can not find any that supports their claim. Is this true?

  63. Leta
    January 30th, 2008

    Is it wrong to work 40 hours when you are classifed as part time and not recieving full benefits?

  64. Tonya
    January 30th, 2008

    Well, let me ask you this: I work for a company where sometimes I am the only one there. I live and work in Alabama which doesn’t require meal breaks. Some days I may have worked 6 hours 15 minutes. My employer went in and adjusted my time card, reflecting that I took a half hour lunch break. Which I could not have possibly done, since I was the only worker and we are not allowed to close the store. If there are two people there, it is possible to clock out and go to lunch. At times, I have worked 12 hours straight, due to being short staffed. Still, the only one there and not allowed to close. Isn’t this time card fraud?

  65. Leigh
    January 30th, 2008

    Yes.where i work we get two 15 min breaks and 30 min break.Now they are trying to say on our 30 min lunch break we can not leave the facility. I live in the state of florida I work in a nursing facility.I feel like my 30 min is my personal time as long as i’m not going over it .And as long as I clock out can they confine us to the building like that .we dont have our own personal break room so even on our lunch breaks we are still looking at patients.

  66. Andrew Flusche
    February 2nd, 2008

    Loree – I’ve never heard of any law like that. If you didn’t guarantee hours to the employees, I don’t see how you could be in trouble. But I would urge you to contact a lawyer licensed in Texas for help. Or call the Workforce Commission and see what they tell you.

  67. Andrew Flusche
    February 2nd, 2008

    Tonya – Employers shouldn’t be altering time cards at all, as long as the employees are accurately reporting their time. You should consider contacting a local attorney or even calling your state’s wage and hour department.

  68. Andrew Flusche
    February 2nd, 2008

    Leigh – I’m honestly not sure if your employer has to let you leave the premises during lunch. You might try contacting an attorney licensed in Florida. He might could give you a quick answer, possibly even over the phone.

  69. MasterCPU
    February 4th, 2008

    Hi Andrew,
    First, I find your site very informative and I check back periodically to see if anything has changed.

    Anyway, I work in IT in Pennsylvania and all of us technicians were switched from Salary Employees to Hourly Employees, which can have its advantages. One complaint I have that is being forced now is no over-time. So okay fine no over-time but, now they have just recently demanded that we take an hour lunch break without pay (which was originally a mandatory 30 minutes lunch break without pay). Now without pay is not a surprise, but I honestly do not need an hour for lunch. To me 15 – 20 minutes is plenty because I eat at my desk anyway and keep working during that time. My question is, do I have to just conform and take an hour lunch and have to stay at work for 9 hours or do I have some right to stand up and refuse?

    Thank for you for time!
    Oh, did you pass your Bar Exam?

  70. Andrew Flusche
    February 4th, 2008

    MasterCPU –

    The best solution would be to politely ask your supervisors. They might be flexible on the requirement, if asked in the right way.

    But since you work in IT, they might be enforcing an hour lunch break to ensure that technicians are available all day when other employees are on site. And I don’t know what legal grounds you could use to get them to waive the requirement.

    I’m sorry that I can’t be more helpful on this issue. People ask similar questions a lot. Maybe I should do some research….

    You could also try contacting a local employment attorney. You never know what tricks they might have up their sleeves. :)

    By the way, I did pass the bar exam!

  71. Donna
    February 4th, 2008

    I don’t have much time here, so I will make it quick– it si illegal for a company to schedule you so that there is no way you can get 8 hours of sleep at night. Example: I work at a department store, so my hours are never stable; we get our schedule about 2 weeks in advance most of the time. They often schedule me so that I am closing one night (10:30pm) and opening the next morning (6am). There is no way to get ready and drive to work AND get 8 hours of rest. Is this illegal, and what can I do if it is?

    Thank you!

  72. Andrew Flusche
    February 6th, 2008

    Donna – The best advice here is to contact a local employment attorney. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are any laws to prevent this. My mother-in-law is a department store manager, and I know she has a similar schedule too often.

  73. Janet
    February 16th, 2008

    My question is this. My mother works for a hospital in PA. they are changing her hours to 8.5 hours a day, five days a week. She is geting 1/2 hour for lunch UNPAID. Does she have to take that lunch? Can they force her to use that as unpaid time. Or can she work through lunch and either leave 1/2 hour early from work (since she’s not being paid for the 1/2 hour, why be there), or work through her lunch and get 2.5 hours overtime a week?

  74. Andrew Flusche
    March 1st, 2008

    Janet – Employers generally get to set schedules for their employees. Lunch breaks are almost always unpaid. There’s really nothing out of the ordinary here. Your mother might could ask the employer to accommodate her wishes; it never hurts to ask.

  75. rufusond2006
    March 2nd, 2008

    Is there a law stating that if you are full time employeed you have to be scheduled a certain amount of hours a week. My employer hired me full time and has dropped me to 25 hours per week. I live in New Mexico.

  76. John
    March 8th, 2008

    If an employee is not scheduled to work, but shows up to work, do we still have to pay them? They never entered the restaurant, and did not perform any work related duties. I just had a parent tell me that I am required to pay them for 4 hours if they are sent home early, so thats why im asking. By the way im in M.A., and I’ve searched everywhere online to find an answer for this.

  77. laura
    March 19th, 2008

    IN response to the above posters who are asking about guranteed hours or guranteed wages for minors:

    In some states. you arerequired to pay minors for hours not worked – *if they were scheduled*. In Colorado or Oregon, can’t remember which now, if you scheduled an employee under 18 for 8 hours, for example, you had to pay them for 4 hours, even if you sent them home because of slow business, etc. (Obviously, if I needed to “cut” employees because it was slow, I would therefore try to “cut” employess other than those who were under 18, or those only after they had worked half their scheduled shift).

    However, If an employee just showed up but was not / had never been scheduled, we would not have been required to pay them. My only question here would be, was the employee scheduled, then cut but not informed of it? Otherwise, this sounds ridiculous to me – it seems unlikely that paying someone for “mistakenly” showing up would be required anywhere, but the M.A. labor dept. can clarify that for you. Perhaps this is where the parents are confused?

    As to being obliged to *schedule* the minor a certain # of hours (Texas?) – I can’t imagine that any hourly employee is legally entitled a guaranteed number of hours, unless the employer has signed a contract guaranteeing the hours. Seasonal employment is seasonal employment. Employers cut hours, even with regular employees, if business is slow and they want to cut labor costs. It is certainly ethical and good business practice to give employees the number of hours you told them they were being hired for, or as close to it as you can, but if you are unable to do so, to let them know so that they can adjust / exercise their options: take an additional part-time job, or quit and work elsewhere. But legal obligation? I doubt it (legal standards are often lower than ethical standards, IMO).

    Anyway, for any of these questions, if the state’s printed material does not explain it clearly (and every state will have this available on the web these days), you can call the state labor dept. to clarify. If questions remain, a labor attorney would be the next step.

  78. Andrew Flusche
    March 19th, 2008

    laura -

    Your comment is simply amazing!! I really appreciate this awesome contribution to the conversation for this post.

    And thank you for encouraging people to call their state’s labor department. That is a great resource people should utilize more often.

    Please comment any time. :)


  79. john reed
    March 24th, 2008

    i was wondering if your employer requires that you stat at the job site does he have to pay us for our lunch since we can’t leave? and also he requires us to punch out of work then come into the office to tell him about our jobs for the day do we have to do that without pay?

  80. laura
    March 25th, 2008

    For John Reed,

    I recently called my state’s Department of Labor on the first part of your question, and they confirmed my understanding that if you’re “not allowed to leave the premises for the full (length of time of your break), that’s not considered a break and they should compensate you”. I was told that if you’re required to stay on the premises, it’s “not legal” to make you punch out. It may differ in your state so you should doublecheck.

    As for the second part, if it’s a requirement and you’re doing it regularly and it’s to discuss business, you should be paid. Period.

  81. Jon
    March 25th, 2008

    Hello, I would like to know what are the laws governing employers on so-called Brown Bag or Learn-over Lunch programs, ie. if they strongly suggest or mandate people attend learning sessions over luch periods. Especially related to salaried employees, and salaried state employees (VA), who normally work a 9 hour period with 1 hour lunch normally given. Can such employers mandate people must attend that 1 hour over lunch which technically they are not being paid for when one looks at the paystub. And BTW such lunch sessions are not directly related to the attendees jobs, only informational.

  82. South city Gal
    March 25th, 2008

    My job is in a hospital pharmacy and is often busy we are required to have coffee breaks of about 15 minutes within our 4 working hours most often and majority of my cowerkers do not use this 15 minutes break because there is no one to cover their job for 15 minutes and dont have the heart to leave our work area and hope that our patients in the hospital can wait 15 minutes to get their medications or IV’s specially if it is a STAT order.
    Now my question is : If my shift is from 7am till 3:30 pm and at 3:15 pm, I get the chance to get a 15 minute break in which at 3:30 I will be going home can I just go straight home/clock out at 3:15pm ?
    pls. advice …….

    Thank you
    South city gal

  83. Andrew Flusche
    March 27th, 2008

    Jon – Virginia is a “right to work” state. In short, that means employers can get away with a lot, but also that employees can go find another job. Even though work shifts are normally 9 hours with 1 hour free for lunch, salaried employees could be made to stay for a lunch meeting. It’s definitely not uncommon. There could be a separate requirement for Commonwealth of Virginia employees, but that’s not something I’m familiar with.

    South City Gal – This is really a question for your employer. Most likely, you can’t just go home early. As the main post here explains, some states do require mandatory breaks. If your state does, your employer must let you take a break. Otherwise, it’s up to the employer. They certainly wouldn’t want everyone clocking out at 3:15, since that would leave a 15-minute hole with no employees.

  84. ben Cassidy
    March 30th, 2008

    What about going home early. Like if your scheduled to work so many hours they cant make you leave.

  85. Marty
    April 6th, 2008

    Your site is just unreal for the info you give out to all of us.. I live in Calif and going to manage a snack bar and new at this. But have alot of restaurant experience also, for i was a Cook & Waitress. & Mgr. Trying to cut labor cost also. Labor Law in CA the employer can do ( 3 ) hour shifts for employees. I never knew this and are valuable at the peak time of course. I will give them a free meal since they shall be working hard .Working in the food industry from my pas experience can be very hard on everyone and i went to be a good employer and my ( 4 ) hour shifts shall be 15 minutes, not 10 minutes. That is what i always got also. I beleive what you give to Employees you get back in return in the long run.I am very happy to say I live in CA when it comes to the Labor Law Hours and Pay after reading your site from other states . Our minimun wage is $8.00 an hour and after that for over time of 40 hours is time and a half i beleive. I can never complain about our Labor Laws again we have it made. Hope to hear back from you about this information i have given you. If i am worng please correct me. Keep up the great Info to other employees in other states.They need it.

  86. Andrew Flusche
    April 6th, 2008

    Marty – Best of luck with your snack bar. I can’t give you legal advice, so if you have particular questions about California’s labor laws, I encourage you to hire a local employment attorney. You can also try calling your state’s labor department. Thanks for the comment!

  87. Ken
    April 7th, 2008


    i have a question i been being sent home about a hour early then my scheduled time everyday i live in the state of hawaii is it a requirement that i take a lunch break when i am being sent home 1 hour early?


  88. Joseph
    April 7th, 2008

    im 18 and work for a grocery store in PA and i work 6 hours aday and only get 15 min breaks.. is that wrong?

  89. Helen Eaton
    April 22nd, 2008

    I need to know what the labor law on breaks and lunch break times for the state of Alabama.

  90. Misuchiru
    May 12th, 2008


    I have a serious question. I was informed by a friend of mine that Federal Law requires all businesses to allow their employees smoke breaks when the employee “needs to smoke” during the day. This is apparently due to Smoking being an addiction, and thusly being classified as a disease, and you can’t descriminate by disease, and have to let them have the break. Is this true? I had never heard of that before, nor have I heard of it since… I have tried looking it up online, and can’t find anything on Smoke Breaks, except for designating smoke break areas outside of the building due to the clean air policies. As far as I understand, however, break times are considered under Business Hours, and you cannot violate the company policies, and in my company, that could also mean leaving premisis; can the company/business state in their rules anything along the lines of “you cannot smoke on your break but on your lunch is okay” if it is a hospital setting, a restaurant setting, or a place where there is a strict health code and does not allow smoking IN or AROUND the facility? Information regarding whether this is dealt with state-by-state as is the smoking ban policies or not would be appreciated. Thank you.

  91. Andrew Flusche
    May 16th, 2008

    @Misuchiru – This issue could vary significantly between the states. But according to the state of Texas, smoking is not a disability, even under federal law. And I’m sure that the employer’s rules on the premises apply to employees on breaks. You’re right that breaks are still working time.

  92. Herb
    June 5th, 2008

    Question. I work in Maine and I understand that employees are entitiled to a 30 minute lunch break if they work more than a six hour day. I’ve read the Maine statute and it says that employers must “offer the opportunity” for a 30 minute lunch break. Our employer has instituted a new program here stating that the law requires that all employees MUST take at least 30 minutes and if they take any less than that, they are subject to discipline up to and including termination. If the law says that I must have the “opportunity” for a 30 minute break and I clock back in after only 29 minutes, how have I been denied my opportunity for a 30 minute break? What ramifications are there for a company if employees either intentionally or inadvertantly take less than 30 minutes.

  93. Andrew Flusche
    June 5th, 2008

    @Herb – The law sets basic standards that employers must meet. But the employer can go above and beyond the law by requiring employees to take their full 30 minutes for lunch. The law isn’t requiring that, the employer is. Discipline and/or termination rests on a variety of factors, so you would really need to consult with a Maine attorney for that.

  94. stomper_95
    June 25th, 2008

    quit complanin im 16 living in canada and working 10-12 hour days with no real breaks or lunch hour and love it because i make money faster than anyone i know in the last two days i put in almost 22 hours

  95. Andrew Flusche
    June 26th, 2008

    @stomper – I don’t think anyone is complaining here. People are trying to understand the law. Not everyone wants to work 10 hours with no breaks. If you want to, that’s your choice.

  96. Nathan Snell
    June 27th, 2008

    I could be mistaken, or this could be state specific, but I recall at some point hearing some kind of law or regulation that prevents non-full time employees from having 2 shifts scheduled within a certain amount of time of the past shift (8 hours maybe)?

    Eg: If I end work at 10pm and was scheduled to begin work at 6am the next morning.

    Does that sound at all familiar?

  97. Andrew Flusche
    June 27th, 2008

    @Nathan – Laws of this nature might exist on a state or local level, but I am not aware of any. I did find out that Ontario requires at least 8 hours off between shifts, if the combined hours of both shifts total more than 13.

  98. Ursula
    July 13th, 2008

    my boyfriend is scheduled to work 10 days straight, do he have to even though he dont want to?

  99. [...] original post on lunch break laws still remains one of the most popular articles on this blog. Many people are highly interested in [...]

  100. stesha
    August 8th, 2008

    My employer is barely giving me any hours. I work in retail in california and he is scheduling me for 4 to 8 hour weeks. Is this legal? Is their a minimum hour requirement emploers have to follow?

  101. Andrew Flusche
    August 8th, 2008

    @stesha – I do not know of any minimum work hour requirements like you are looking for. But if you contact an employment lawyer near you in California, he/she might be able to provide a 100% positive answer either way. Ultimately, it’s typically the employer’s decision how many hours you’re scheduled for. If you don’t like it, your recourse is to find a different job.

  102. Kimberly Heffington
    August 9th, 2008

    Hi there,
    I work for a company in Texas as a key holder in a management position that is paid hourly. When I want to take my lunch that is required I have to clock out and I am not allowed to leave the building to get food. On top of this during my lunch break I have to still work whenever they need me to. I feel that if im not getting paid for working why should i have to work on my own time that takes time out of my lunch. Just wondering some of your insight.

  103. Andrew Flusche
    August 9th, 2008

    @Kimberly – Check out Fact Sheet 22 from the US Department of Labor. If you are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (which you probably are), your employer must pay you for any hours that you work. If you are not *completely* relieved of duty during your lunch break, you should be paid for that time.

  104. Mike
    August 17th, 2008

    My girlfriend is a pharmacy manager at a chain drug store in California. The company makes her take a 30 minute lunch break as required by state law. However, during the lunch break the pharmacy is still open and the pharmacy technician is allowed to do limited duties in the absence of the pharmacist. The other day, the technician brought in eleven new prescriptions during the pharmacists’ lunch break. When she got back the work was “piled up”. It’s all good and well that she gets a lunch break but isn’t there a law against increasing workloads during the lunch break?

  105. Andrew Flusche
    August 18th, 2008

    @Mike – There’s really nothing that can be done about this. In some jobs, it’s expected to have more work when you get back from lunch. Surely everyone understands that it’s not your girlfriend’s fault when prescriptions back up during her lunch break.

  106. St George Rentals
    August 25th, 2008

    I like the eating at your desk and playing cards for firefighters counting as working hours. This would be really nice if you could count recreation for staying fit and healthy as working hours.

  107. [...] wrote an article (Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws) over a year ago that linked to one of Lexis’ products. Ironically, that article is the most [...]

  108. Sugar
    August 31st, 2008

    Am I required to pay staff that work in child care and are unable to leave the building due to ratio requirements? (New York)
    Also, with paid training… if the training is required to I have to pay their hours sitting time/overtime?


  109. Andrew Flusche
    August 31st, 2008

    @Sugar – You should contact a New York employment lawyer. Basically, if people are required to be at work, they must be paid. If employees are completely relieved of duty during a meal break, you probably don’t have to pay for that time.

  110. [...] employees always want to know about their rights to a lunch break. Heck, lunch is important to me [...]

  111. Joe
    September 13th, 2008

    i have a question. Its a little different than the lunch/break thread. I work as an electrician, and generally we drive a substansial amount of time to get to jobs, and to get home from jobs. Say we start at our shop at 7:00 am and we drive 2 hours to get to work, and we leave the job at say 3:30 pm and then drive 2 hours back home. My company would only try to pay us for 8 hours ( with an unpaid half hour lunch in there) I feel this is wrong, let me know what you think. This is in New Jersey..

  112. Andrew Flusche
    September 13th, 2008

    @Joe – That’s a question where I’m not sure of the answer. The real issue is whether or not you must be paid for the travel time in question. For that, you can check out the government’s hours worked advisor. Perhaps that will help.

  113. Michelle
    September 17th, 2008

    I’ve read about the California laws for taking lunch, but what about if you only worked for 5 hours (no lunch)1 minute over and get written up, and according to my manager they will need to pay me 1 hr. more because of the 1 minute over? they said it’s the law….i don’t wanna be paid 1 hr. extra and get fired for a minute over.

    ex. punch in 4:00 punch out 9:01

  114. Andrew Flusche
    September 17th, 2008

    @Michelle – In my experience, hours are typically rounded to the nearest quarter of the hour. So 1 minute after the hour would just be rounded to the hour. Some employers might add up all the minutes you work for the week and then round at the end of the pay period. But I don’t see any reason why an employer has to pay employees an hour if they only worked 1 minute. I’ve never heard of a law that requires such payment.

  115. Michelle
    September 17th, 2008

    I found this article , pls. read letter b.. or check http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wag.....ing_t.html

    The new rules also seek to reduce the time period in which a worker could file a complaint from three years to one, on the ground that the pay due under Labor Code § 226.7 is a “penalty, not wages.” Section 226.7 states:

    (a) No employer shall require any employee to work during any meal or rest period mandated by an applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission.

    (b) If an employer fails to provide an employee a meal period or rest period in accordance with an applicable order of the Industrial Welfare Commission, the employer shall pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each work day that the meal or rest period is not provided.

    actually i work 35 hrs a week for the past couple of months now, co. said bec. of economy, that is why they cutting hours, the rest hrs is w/o pay. i did not take a lunch bec. i only work 5 hrs that day, punch out 1 min, over. and get written up.

  116. Michael Kukich
    September 27th, 2008

    This is only an observation but I’d thought I’d share it with you. You mention Nevada as one of the states that has a mandatory lunch break regulation.

    Here is the exact wording: an unpaid meal period of 30 minutes of uninterrupted time shall be AUTHORIZED for an employee working a continuous period of 8 hours.

    I highlighted authorized because it does not mean the same thing as mandatory.

    Authorize = To give permission for.
    Mandatory = Required.

    Any good lawyer could make a very simple arguement that the State of Nevada regulation only requires that an employer must give an employee permission to take an uninterrupted lunch break if they CHOOSE to take one. No where is it implied or spelled out that the State of Nevada is REQUIRING employees to take a lunch break.

    The only reason I mention it, is because I’m one of the people who would rather not take an unpaid 30 minute lunch. My job and shift is not integral to any type of coverage to the employer needs. I start at 4:00 am and taking a 30 minute lunch only makes me tired for the remainder of my shift.

    The only reason that my company “requires” that you take a lunch is to protect themselves form being sued by those who actually want to take one.

    The problem with fighting them is that Nevada is also an “employment at will” state. Which means they can terminate you at anytime without cause.

  117. Andrew Flusche
    September 28th, 2008

    @Michael – Thanks for your comment. Most of the state regulations that cover lunch breaks require a break to be offered, but employees don’t have to take it. You’re absolutely right that many employers choose the cautious route so employees can’t claim that they weren’t allowed to take a break.

    I’m only licensed in Virginia, but go back and check the Nevada statute. You didn’t quote the language quite right:

    Nevada Revised Statutes 608.019 1. “An employer shall not employ an employee for a continuous period of 8 hours without permitting the employee to have a meal period of at least one-half hour.”

    But still, the key word is “permitting.” So yes, an employee could technically decline lunch. However, your employer gets to make the rules, as long as they’re within the law. I suppose they could have you sign a form that says you were offered lunch but that you declined it.

    October 1st, 2008

    ok, so i live in oklahoma and work at a car dealership. recently have discovered that there is a glitch in our system and it has been shorting hourly employees a few hours per pay period due to some rounding setting. anywho, the system also automatically deducts 1hr of pay per day even if you dont take a lunch or even if you only take 30min??? i believe this is slightly illegal, and i’ve been researching, and found that oklahoma doenst mandate a lunch peirod, it just has to be offered ( per oklahoma department of labor). i have went to my general manager about this, due to my office manager not seeming to care much. hopefully this issue becomes resolved before i have to go to distant measures legally.

  119. Ronzella Rattler
    October 13th, 2008

    Sometimes I work 10 hrs at a restaurant. Each time I work those 10 hr. shifts, I only receive one 30 min. break. When I work a 10 hr. shift, do you think I should get two breaks.

  120. Andrew Flusche
    October 13th, 2008

    @Ronzella – This question completely depends upon your state and local labor laws. I don’t think most states would require more than one lunch break, even for a 10-hour shift.

  121. Marie in California
    October 17th, 2008

    I work for a major drugstore chain in California. They have told me that if I work less than 2 hours in a day, they still have to pay me for 2 hours….even if my work takes me only an hour and a half to finish.

    Is California Labor Law? Or does it fall under another state and they are adopting it as their policy since they have stores in other states? Thank you so much for any response!

  122. Andrew Flusche
    October 17th, 2008

    @Marie – Check out the California reporting time pay laws. These regulations are somewhat complex, depending upon your specific situation. That link should help explain things for you.

  123. stacy
    October 20th, 2008

    I read your information and it was very informative, however I hope you can clarify some technicalities for me.

    The issue is… I worked a temp job for 1 day. The position was to be between the hours of 4pm – 1am with (2) 10 min breaks and (1) 30 minute lunch. The first day on the job, they required I be there at 3:30 to fill out paper work. So I worked 3:30 – 12:30, (I was willing to stay until the end of my shift at 1am however the other employee working with me was not going to stay, and I could not do the job on my own, it involved heavy machinery that I had just been trained on) .. I took my mandatory 10 minute breaks and my mandatory 30 minute lunch. I was NOT to clock out for my breaks. When I received my paycheck, it indicates I worked 8 hours (and 3 minutes) . SO math is not my strong suit, but 3:30 – 12:30 with only a 30 minute break equals 8.5 hours in my book. Where and how did they dock me for an additional 30 minutes. (Even my two 10 minute breaks dont equal 30 minutes) and my understanding is California requires PAID breaks.

    My question is, are they legally allowed to dock me a full hour?

  124. Andrew Flusche
    October 21st, 2008

    @stacy – It sounds like they aren’t paying you for the 30 minutes of paperwork time. I am not sure if that is required to be paid time or not. You should contact a local lawyer or the California labor department.

  125. Satur911
    October 26th, 2008

    I work in Ohio at an office building. We are given a 15 minute break for all shifts and mulitiple breaks for long shifts as well as lunches. We have always been able to split our breaks, but recently we were told that federal law mandates that we take our 15 minute breaks at one time (instead of taking 11 minutes and 4 minutes later, for example). Furthermore, the company has penalties for using the restroom when we are not on break. What can you tell me about this? Thanks so much!

  126. Andrew Flusche
    October 26th, 2008

    @Satur911 – Federal law does not mandate short breaks, and it certainly doesn’t require them to be taken in specific time formats. However, any short breaks you are given must be paid time. As for restroom trips, I am not sure. Try calling your state’s labor department.

  127. Jennifer Smith
    November 3rd, 2008

    I work as a receptionist and I eat lunch at my desk. I do not take lunch and i work from 8-6:15 monday through thursday and 8-3 on fridays wich means a guarenteed 14 hrs overtime every 2 weeks but i am not receiving those overtime hours what can I do to ensure that I am getting paid for all the hours that i work?

  128. Andrew Flusche
    November 4th, 2008

    @Jennifer – If you are not being paid overtime, you should contact your state’s labor department, specifically the wage & hour division. They should be able to help.

  129. califnonexempt
    November 5th, 2008

    i work as desktop support in california. are the employer allowed to forced us to take more than a 30 minutes lunch? my supervisor wants us to take an hour lunch which means we work 8 hours + 1 hour lunch.

  130. Andrew Flusche
    November 6th, 2008

    @califnonexempt – Working hours like this are really up to your employer. Some states have minimum lunch requirements, but I don’t think there are any limits on how long your break can be.

  131. Steve Lafollette
    November 7th, 2008

    My employer says we have to work 80 before over-time because we are paid bi-weekly. Some weeks we will work 10 to 11 hour days. One week you work 50 hours and the next week you work 32 due to rain, sickness,ect… They subtract 8 from your overtime and pay you 80 hours regular pay and two hours overtime. Is this right?

  132. Andrew Flusche
    November 7th, 2008

    @Steve – I highly recommend that you contact your state’s labor department or a local licensed attorney. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits averaging work hours like you described. If you work more than 40 hours in a “work week,” the overtime requirements apply. See Fact Sheet 23 from the US Department of Labor.

  133. unknown
    November 8th, 2008

    i was just wondering what is the legal period of lunch break that should be given on sundays in retail when working a11-5 shift?

  134. Andrew Flusche
    November 8th, 2008

    @unknown – Your answer depends upon the specific city and state in which you’re working. Depending on the state, you probably aren’t required to have any lunch break, with such a short working shift.

  135. Frank
    November 13th, 2008

    Hi Andrew, my question is as follows: can you penalize an employee for needing to use the bathroom outside of there scheduled break and lunch times? Can you refuse an employee a bathroom break outside of scheduled Breaks?

  136. Andrew Flusche
    November 13th, 2008

    @Frank – This is a question that I’m not sure about. I suggest contacting a local employment lawyer or your state’s labor department. Restroom breaks are tricky, since people can also be protected due to health conditions under various state and federal laws.

  137. Jen Jen
    November 24th, 2008

    Hi. I work at a company where my position is “temporary” and when I file my taxes, it’s “self-employed” taxes. I know that for anyone who is actually a part of the company, they have to follow lunch regulations for the CA state law. I was wondering, since I am “self-employed”–is it against the law for me to work 6.5 hours without taking lunches?

  138. Andrew Flusche
    November 28th, 2008

    @Jen Jen – It sounds like yours is a complicated situation. You should contact a California labor lawyer. My general thought is that if you are truly an independent contractor, you should be able to take lunch whenever you want. Typically, independent contractors oversee their own working hours.

  139. Tina Bennett
    December 5th, 2008

    I am an hourly employee and I have a question about lunch breaks. There are 3 of us that work together and 1 of us is still in school so she has to take off quite a bit. Next semester she will be gone all day on Tuesdays and our boss is telling us that we have to clock out for 1 hour and basically come out and work when needed during that hour. I know I wasn’t in HR very long in my previous job, but I thought this was totally illegal. What would you suggest to be the best way for us to approach our boss with this??

  140. Andrew Flusche
    December 9th, 2008

    @Tina – I suggest contacting your state’s labor department or an employment attorney in your state. Generally, if you are not on the clock, you should be relieved of your work duties.

  141. sly
    December 17th, 2008

    i’ve been doing some research but haven’t find anything in particular, if anyone can help then it would be so awesome!

    anywho lemme begin…

    at my work place; when we are hired, we received an employee handbook and was informed to look through it and signed the ‘i agree’ / i understand form (which i felt as it is a contract- is it correct?) well, it stated that for all employees it is a 40 hr/wk job and that work starts at 8 am-4:30 pm everyday… well, all is kinda ok in the beginning because the supervisor that opens the doors opens at 3-5 min before 8am but now he opens a bit after 8 and sometimes he gets to the worksite at 8am but sits in his car until 8:05 or sometimes until 8:10 and then gets on to opening the gate for the employees to get in and then he decides to move his car first before he opens the offices for us(that’s where we can clock ourselves in), so wether we clock ourselves ontime or late every morning would be his call because he is the person opening the gate/doors for all employees besides the owner(he got his own keys). and if he open late then we would be starting work late everyday and if we start late that means we don’t get our full 8 hrs a day and by the week ends we don’t have 40 hrs so we dont get paid for 40 hrs/+. So basically he’s wasting 10-20 mins of our time that we’re suppose to be working and causing us a couple of bucks pay per week… THERE’S GOTTA BE SOMETHING WRONG HERE RIGHT?
    i feel that it’s unfair for the people dedicated to the job and trying to show that they are good/serious workers by having to wake up very early every morning and rush just to make it to work early or on time and then when we get there, we have to wait until past 8 and be clocked in late. this has been going on for about a month now and i didn’t want to inform or ask the owner if it is ok for all this to be happening because he and the supervisor are relatives and for all i know i’m not sure if the owner would just side w/ the supervisor on it. because i do know that the economy is on low side at the moment and the employer/owner wants to save money. but even if it is slow and he wants to save money but cutting our hrs like that shouldnt they have had informed that about time change first? i would be unhappy about hearing it but it would be more fair. WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT THIS?

    sorry for the long one & hope it is understandable for i’m in a rush here, but this is just one of the probs… please help me here i’d appreciate it SO MUCH!

  142. Andrew Flusche
    December 17th, 2008

    @sly – That’s a tough question. Honestly, I don’t know that you have any claim here. But you could contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Or you could try talking with your state’s labor department.

  143. Artie Parker
    December 18th, 2008

    Can your employer MAKE YOU take break and lunch periods?



  144. Andrew Flusche
    December 18th, 2008

    @Artie – Typically, yes. Your employer gets to set your hours and determine when you take breaks, within the limits set by the law. To my knowledge, there aren’t laws that say you can’t be required to take a break.

  145. leesa
    December 29th, 2008

    is answering a customer service line on an employer provided cell phone from home during hours a store is closed, time that needs to be compensated? a local retailer is now doing this, requiring the phone be answered 8am-9pm 7 days/wk by the same employee but not considering the this after-hours chore as overtime. Since it is answering a customer service line isn’t this different than being “on-call’ off-premise (which as I understand it isn’t usually compensated)?

  146. Martin
    January 22nd, 2009

    got a question for you Andrew. the Kentucky labour laws state that “an employee is entitled to a 10 min break every 4 hours worked, this shall be in addition to the lunch period”

    the company i work for recently moved are lunch break to replace one of the coffee breaks and then took away oiur coffee break, is this legal? does the lunch break count as our break in the first 4 hours of shift and the 10 min break cover us for the second 4 hours? or should we still be getting 2×10 min breaks and a half hour lunch break?

    the part that says this shall be in addition to the lunch period has me confused.
    to simplify the question, we used to have a 10 min break at 8pm, lunch at 10pm and another 10 min break at midnight. now we have lunch at 8pm and a 10 min break at 11pm for an 8 hour shift. can they do this or do they owe us another 10 min break?


  147. Andrew Flusche
    January 24th, 2009

    @leesa – The answer to your question is based on the facts of your situation. What you are asking is what time constitutes your “hours worked” for overtime purposes.

    First of all, any time you actually spend on the phone is definitely “hours worked.” An hourly employee has to be compensated for all hours worked.

    You are basically on-call to answer this phone line during set times. But it’s hard to say whether or not the waiting time is “hours worked.” One important factor is whether or not you can effectively use the waiting time for your own activities. If you get calls so frequently that you can’t eat an uninterrupted meal or watch a TV show, this might count as “hours worked.”

    Note that this isn’t legal advice. I’m just pointing out some factors to look at. To get a better grasp on these, check out the Department of Labor’s Hours Worked Advisor.

  148. Rodney Birditt
    January 28th, 2009

    My question concerninglunch and breaks is, I work for a company headquartered in Nebraska has facilities in Kansas, Georgia, Canada, England and Australia plus a few other sites. Now my question is they try to run all the areas as one entity, bonuses, breaks, lunches ect. Do they have to follow labor law fron NE or each state?The way our braks and lunches run is they constantly change. You might be going to lunch at 12:05 then it changes to 2:40 ect. I work in GA and see there is no law regarding us. All help on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

  149. Andrew Flusche
    January 30th, 2009

    @Rodney – The key is where you work. If you work in Georgia, that state’s labor laws apply to you. Some companies run all their offices in accordance with the strictest state’s laws. That makes things easier to manage.

  150. Jason Iverson
    February 28th, 2009

    Hello, I have a couple quick questions.

    I live in Arkansas. I work as a night security guard, 12 hour shifts, 3 nights a week, one guard per shift. If a guard does not come in the following morning to relieve me, am I required to stay over? Say if they tell me he will not be coming in for 2 hours or if they cant find anybody so I have to stay over? Also can I be fired because I would not come in due to bad weather? I live about 30 miles from the site I guard and most of which is rural territory. Lastly, is it true if you put in your two weeks, that they are required by law to keep you until your two weeks are up?


  151. Andrew Flusche
    March 1st, 2009

    @Jason – These issues go beyond the scope of what I’ve written about here. Unfortunately, that means you really need to talk with an Arkansas employment lawyer.

  152. Ashley
    March 7th, 2009

    Hi, I stumbled across this while looking into labor laws. I work part time for a company in Illinois where they make the schedule with “call-ins”. For example, today I have a shift scheduled from 4-10:30 but I have a 2-4 call in, which means I have to call at 1 to see if I work at 2, otherwise I just come in at 4. I was talking to my dad, who is in charge of many area stores in the Texas area, and he said that my employer cannot force me to call an hour ahead and see if I work, that I have to know at least 24 hours in advance my for-sure hours. I can’t find an example of this anywhere – where would I look?

  153. Andrew Flusche
    March 8th, 2009

    @Ashley – I suggest contacting the Illinois labor department. You can find their website and phone number through Google. If that doesn’t help, you could call an employment lawyer who is licensed in Illinois. Good luck!

  154. machele
    March 12th, 2009

    I recently started a new job as a shift manager at a fast food restaurant (major worldwide franchise) working swing shift. I have two issues:

    One–my co-managers on the second and third shifts do not allow employees to take any breaks whatsoever. We are in Mississippi and I know there are no laws entitling breaks, but our corporate training manuals say we must give employees 2-10 minute breaks paid for every 4 hours worked and 1-30 minute unpaid break for those working 6 or more hours. Also, for example, the other night, one employee had worked for 8.5 hours at drive thru with no break at all and asked repeatedly to go to the restroom and was told no by the other manager. She stated she had to go and was going anyway. (Other employees, including 15 and 16 year olds are being treated the same way.) That manager told her she could turn in her uniform if she went to the restroom, so she went to the restroom and quit. I am new, but have given employees breaks on those shifts when asked but am being harrassed and blackballed by co-managers on those shifts for doing so. Is there any protection for these employees on these shifts? This is America, is it really legal to deny these workers even 5 minutes to use the bathroom?

    two–at this store, many workers, inluding myself are required to stay well over our shifts and work. That’s okay, but the general manager is going in and editing our time punches to reflect no overtime. I just recently caught this and ran a report on my own time punches when I realized my checks seemed short and my time punches were wrong (like showing I was clocking out when I was clocking in). Our pay period is from Monday thru Sunday. On the report, it showed that the Sundays I had worked were deleted and the time redistributed to other days in that pay period and in the next pay period to reflect regular hours, rather than overtime. For example, I had worked 48 hours in my first week. 10 of those hours were worked on a Sunday. The edit made it appear that I didn’t work Sunday, but two additional hours were added to a previous day I had worked that week and eight hours were added to the next week. We get paid every two weeks. I’ve worked every Sunday since I started this job, but the report shows that I’ve been off every Sunday. So, I have eight hours I worked, that I’ve yet to be paid for. I’ve been there for a month and a half now. Now, I’m getting some overtime pay on my checks (like 5 ot hours last check) but it’s showing I worked only 76 regular hours for a 2 week period. This is due to the constant redistribution of my time through time punch edits. Not to mention, when my time has been reentered, all of the hours I worked are not being reentered, only partial hours. Are they required to keep any records showing my original time punches?

    Any advice?

    Sorry to be so long winded

  155. Andrew Flusche
    March 15th, 2009

    @machele – I strongly suggest contacting a local employment lawyer who is licensed in your state. And you should contact your state’s labor department.

    I am not sure exactly what restroom breaks would be required, but I’m fairly certain employees get reasonable quick breaks to go to the restroom.

    The overtime pay issue sounds like it violates federal overtime laws. Employers are not allowed to redistribute time like you described. Employees should be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours during a given work week. The work week has to be a consecutive 7-day period that doesn’t change.

    Good luck!

  156. Kelly
    March 29th, 2009

    Hi, i was looking into Texas labor laws and i ran accross this site. I am aware that Texas is a right to work state, and that is the response i get when i ask about meal and break requirements at my job, as i frequently am denied my 10 minute breaks that (the company policy for an 8 hour shift is two 10 minute paid breaks and one unpaid 30 minute lunch) i’m entitled to, as well as getting my lunch 7 hours into my 8 hour shift, which breaks yet another company policy of getting the 30 minute break around 5 or 6 hours into it.

    But, i don’t really understand how the “right to work” reason has anything to do with this. as I undersatnd it, its more to do with unions.. Is there something i’m missing?

    Also, there has been an issue of sending employees home early. i’ve heard things like a schedule is a contract and that you can’t force anyone to go home before they’re scheduled off, and that a schedule is more like guidlelines from my manager. why such a wide array of answers?

    I work at the busiest store in my region, which spans into two states. Breaks are somewhat neccessary for the amount of work we have to do… i would just like to know if i have a leg to stand on should i decide to say something.

    If you know anything about this i would very much appreciate your input!

  157. Andrew Flusche
    April 1st, 2009

    @Kelly – Right to work doesn’t really matter in the context of lunch breaks. All that matters is what the federal and state governments require. I don’t believe Texas requires any breaks. As far as schedules go, the wide array of answers is probably because not everyone knows what they are talking about. Most states do not have requirements about scheduled hours.

  158. Kristin
    April 22nd, 2009

    Hi, I live in PA at a privately owned restaurant. At this restaurant they told us we are not allowed to smoke while on duty or on the grounds. Somedays, i will work a 11 to 15 hour shift. I’m not sure if smoking breaks are required by law, but as a person with an addiction this is a long time. At 6:00 all employees are required to move our cars to another parking lot, at which time many employees use this as a smoke break. Today my general manager caught me doing so, and in retaliation she picked my cigarette butt off the ground outside and brought it inside put it in my beverage in front of half the staff without my knowledge. Is this against the law and can I get her in trouble with the departemnt of labor of health board or even take it further?

  159. Andrew Flusche
    April 25th, 2009

    @Kristin – This situation would depend upon the local laws and ordinances in effect. If you’re concerned about it, you could certainly call the health department or speak with an attorney who is licensed in your area.

  160. Doug in Vermont
    May 2nd, 2009

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m a full-time/40 hr per week employee. My employer makes me take an unpaid lunch break and my hours are from 7:30 am to 4 pm. A part-time employee works from 8 am-2:30 pm, sits across from me, and gets paid while he eats his lunch. He gets paid 32 1/2 hours per week. It’s definitely not fair in my opinon. Is this legal???

    The same employer also does this: The computer we punch in and out on tabulates my hours in 100ths. The employer pays me in 1/4 hours and does not round up. If I work 39 hours and 59 minutes, I get paid for 39 3/4 hours. If I work 40 hours and 14 minutes, I get paid for 40 hours. They never round up to the nearest 1/4 hour. Is this legal??? I’ve questioned them on this and the response from the office staff is that this is the way they have always done it.


  161. Bob Smiley
    May 4th, 2009

    Growing up, I worked 2 jobs that handled hours unusually.

    1) I worked fast food at Wendy’s when I was in high school. State law prohibited students working over 20 hours, so they would schedule you for 10 hours of actual work, and 30 hours of “on call” … basically that meant you couldn’t go do anything, because you had to be on call to come in in case someone called in sick. I ended up racking up about 30 hours a week because of this. I also got fired over it, because I eventually got fed up of having to hang around the house all night “on call” and not getting paid and not getting called in to work. But one night they did call in, and I blew them off. So, they said I could either come in and sign a piece of paper saying I’d take a reprimend and deduction in pay, or I could quit. I decided to do neither, so they fired me. I didn’t bother taking it to court or anything. Later I found out that Wendy’s was getting into hot water with the state for “child labor” explotation … seems other students were getting more than 20 hours a week, too.

    2) In my 20′s, I worked for a shipping/trucking dock, where we loaded/unloaded trailers with forklifts and such. They would only pay us over time if we went over 50 hours a week. They claimed there was some state law dealing with rail lines or something that let them get away with this. Conveniently, they would work everyone up to 50 hours, then send them home if they were about to go over 50 hours. During the summer, the busiest shipping season, they would hire on extra labor to avoid paying folks over-time to handle the increase in shipments. They would also round the hours down to the nearest 15 minutes. This annoyed me and I confronted the dock manager about it, since the person who used to do the time cards looked at mine and said the way the new person was rounding shorted me about an hours worth of pay (a whopping $9 at the time, but it was a the principle of the matter that I was pissed about). The dock manager said that if I didn’t like it I could leave. So, I did. Last I heard, that company went out of business.

  162. george
    May 9th, 2009

    i’m an hourly co-manager at a pizza place in Las Vegas. I’ve worked here five years nad hadn’t had a break. Is there anything i can do to the company I work for, or receive any compensation for it ?

  163. Max
    May 12th, 2009

    Regarding Tina’s comments (Dec 5th 2008) about being told by your manager to clock-out and continue working, what happens if someone is injured on the job while not on the clock. Can they collect workman’s comp? (Pertains to a restaurant chain in Ohio)

    To save money, managers are making employees clock out 30-40 minutes prior to the end of their shift while still working. Employees are afraid to speak up in fear of retribution.

  164. [...] vests would not make a whole load. Actually some breaks and lunches are NOT government mandated, Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws You Should Know « Legal Andrew. [+] Rate this post [...]

  165. Pittsburgh Mover
    June 16th, 2009

    Thanks for this information. A lot of companies try doing funky things with how they treat breaks and overtime. And even though there are laws that clearly state how everything should be handled, there are also loopholes like some of the other commenters have described.

  166. Joanie
    June 16th, 2009

    I worked from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. without any kind of break. I live in CA. Is this right? Shouldn’t I have gotton a break?

  167. Intranet Development
    June 19th, 2009

    thanks for the information! I am in Minnesota so a lot of these laws work to my benefit!

  168. Greg
    July 6th, 2009

    Is an employer allowed to require an employee to come back to work during the work day. Example. Work 7am to 930pm then return at 2pm until 330pm. for 4 hours pay? or even come back 3 times? Employees are mobile transportation drivers with company provided vehicles.

  169. sinema izle
    July 11th, 2009

    Thank you Andrew

  170. Gerard Salton
    August 6th, 2009

    I cannot believe how lazy Americans are wanting long breaks every few hours. I own an IT company in Turkey which is offshored to another company in Eastern Europe in which employees stay from 8:00 in the morning till 8:00pm non stop. They give them a choice, if they don’t like it, they can go look for work elsewhere . its good for my profit, I don’t mind ;) And they employees get paid for every hour that they do, except that there is no minimum wage to worry about so my profit is maximised to the top.

  171. videolar
    September 4th, 2009

    thanks for the information! I am in Minnesota so a lot of these laws work to my benefit!

  172. sugar puff
    September 9th, 2009

    Hmm, my employer allows me to get short breaks but he is not paying for them. I did not know he had to do that. Seems pretty fair though. I’m not even taking that many breaks, just two or three per day (8 hour working day). Anyway, thx for the article and I’ll be looking for more details on this matter. Maybe I’ll get some extra cash..Yeeey!

  173. michael
    September 14th, 2009

    i live in ga see if youve heard of this before.in 2001 where i worked at work was slow and we were being laied off every other week.they caught 2 bosses changing the ssn and address on the claim forms.just so happens they had 2 witneses and was going to do nothing so i called the ga dept. of labor.when it was all over they fixed it so they were sent email and that was that..a few years later the 2 lost there jobs for something else.by jan. of 2008 they brought in 2 new supervisors the other 2 retired and it got so bad when we went in at 7 in the mornning we never knew what time we were going home they might let us eat somthing around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.some nights we were in there unitil 10 at night. the last 7 mouths are so were hell i finley realized they were trying to run off as many as they could. it got to the point to where they wouldnt even let us go to the bathroom.there was many times where i started to go in the garbage can.finley one day i shit all over myself befor i could get to the bathroom which the bosses thought was funny and off course all they wanted to know was icoming back because i went home after that sick.i didnt come back until the next day.the day i was gone the person tacking my place had problems with the computer and screwed somthing up. over a mouth later they fired him for no reason and tried to put me on finals for something that happened when i wasnt there.i said no they werent going to put me on finals they backed down but still wrote me up.i worked at this place for 19 yrs and 11 mo. i wanted to walk out of there but if i did i couldnt draw because i caled the dept of labor and they said they could do what ever they want. now i have a ? who done this to people because it didnt use to be like this.most people dont even know the laws.treating people that work for you like that is wrong dont let them eat go to the bathroom get a drink of water . this is unamerican animals are treated better than that in most cases.

  174. Hospedagem
    September 18th, 2009

    I am curious about the requirements I have to meet to be in accordance with state law. Quite a bit of my employees work a simple four hour shift.

  175. Lauren
    September 21st, 2009

    I work at a local McDonalds in Kentucky. They usually scheduale me for 3 hour shifts but they always end up sending me home because their labor times are high. I’ve heard from several people that they still have to pay me for the 3 hours. I can’t find that statement anywhere and it would be great if you can send me to a site that explains it or just tell me about it.

  176. Part-time working smoker.
    September 22nd, 2009

    Hey i work at your average clothing store and i smoke. i was told by people that every 3 hours of consequeatively working on your feet without getting to sit down.your supposed to get a 5 minute break but my boss is very adament that im wrong i dont want to get fired but i kinda feel like she should cut me a small break. anyways i just kinda wanted to know what the real deal is…. thanks.


  177. Gus
    September 22nd, 2009

    Hello, I was wondering how much time is required for lunch in schools. Also are the teachers aloud to keep the kids in there classroom without lunch during there lunch break. Thanks Gus

  178. Jon
    September 24th, 2009

    Andrew, thank you for your previous input on the Virginia job lunch training being pushed on employees. At this point, the employer has gone as far as putting participation in these supposedly not mandetory lunchtime sessions, on annual review as action items. What I really cannot understand is if the training is about business, then why they won’t conduct it during business hours, not people’s lunch hour. To me it just has a strange smell to it. Indeed it’s a happy thing we even have a job these days, but that doesn’t take away from issues that affect us.

  179. Shannon
    October 18th, 2009

    I work at the front desk of a hotel in Florida during the overnight shift. Recently I was told that I am required to take an unpaid break due to “auditing” reasons. I am not allowed to leave the premises during this break and have been asked to bring the company cell phone or a radio with me in case the bellman needs me, as there is no other front desk agent, nor a manager available. They have also “suggested” I sit in the office behind the desk so that I am not far away. If I have to be ready to return to the desk for anything, does that count as a break?

    Also, we have monthly front desk meetings, as well as quarterly property meetings that I have been told are mandatory even though they take place during the day and often between shifts (meaning I’ve worked until 7:30 in the morning, have to come to a meeting for two hours in the afternoon, and then return at 11 that night). I am getting paid for these meetings, but would I be fair in asking to be exempt from these meetings?

    They said that I didn’t have to take the entire 30 minutes at once. After reading this blog I have already concluded that if the break is less than 30 consecutive minutes it does not constitute a meal break, so thank you for that. Any information you could share would be very much appreciated.

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