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. …
The West Virginia Division of Labor maintains a fairly comprehensive website. This enabled me to find the answer to Ginger’s question. Unfortunately, it looks like the mandatory state breaks are not very generous.
Disclaimer: As of this writing, I am not a licensed attorney. This post is intended for educational purposes only.
The West Virginia legislature passed a mandatory lunch break law in 1994. The law requires that employers provide a 20 minute meal break during a workday of six or more hours. Here is the relevant portion of the statute:
During the course of a workday of six or more hours, all employers shall make available for each of their employees, at least twenty minutes for meal breaks, at times reasonably designated by the employer.
That means an employer could cut a 30 minute lunch short, as long as the meal break is still at least 20 minutes. Also, there is no federal or West Virginia state requirement that these lunch breaks be paid.
Like most states, West Virginia does not require short rest periods. Your employer doesn’t have to give you a coffee break or let you go out to smoke.
However, if a West Virginia employer provides a short break (less than 20 minutes), it must be paid. If your employer cuts your lunch break shorter than 20 minutes, it would become a paid break.
For further help
I strongly advise anyone with legal questions to contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. They can give better advice on your specific state’s laws.
For West Virginia labor questions, check out the West Virginia Division of Labor online. You can also call Sandra Cunningham in the Wage & Hour department: 304-558-7890.
Get more legal tips