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  • Maine Lunch break law questions. Maine

    I have been trying to find answers to some questions I have regarding the law for the 30 minute rest break in Maine. I've read through the Government labor law page and contacted them several times with the questions but no one EVER responds. Very frustrating! I have tried to research this and can pretty much only come up with: employers in Maine must "offer" employees who work more than 6 hours a 30 minute, unpaid lunch break. My questions on this include: can employers force employees to take this break? Can employers dock employees pay if they do not take the break? Is there a waiver that the employee can sign? Can an employee be fired for not taking this unpaid break?

    My work schedule starts at 4:30 in the morning and I work 7 hours a day, 35 hours a week. I find it is pretty pointless to work an extra half hour to take an unpaid "lunch" break when I am home by noon. I get 2 15 minute breaks and that is plenty for me.

    I appreciate anyone who can help me with my specific questions. I saw the other post here about the lunch breaks but the links listed there only took me to the pages I've already been and don't answer my specific questions.

    Thanks, Rosie

  • #2
    Yes, they can force you to take that break regardless of your feelings about it.
    Please no private messages about your situation.

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    • #3
      And the reason they can is because there is no law that says they can't.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        But can they legally dock your pay if you don't take the break at all or the full 30 minutes?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rosie26y View Post
          But can they legally dock your pay if you don't take the break at all or the full 30 minutes?
          No, if you work. But they can discipline you, up to terminating you, for not following their rules.
          Please no private messages about your situation.

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          • #6
            Thanks a lot for your help! I wish there was more info on the Maine labor laws Government pages on this. There are really no details about it there to answer questions like mine....Thnaks again. ~Rosie

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            • #7
              Actually, you CAN waive your legal rights to the break. Note that such a waiver is not required IF there are fewer than three employees on duty AND the nature of the job allows frequent breaks during the day (true for my security guards, so I don't have to fret about getting them replaced for thirty minutes every day).

              http://janus.state.me.us/legis/statu...e26sec601.html

              In the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or other written employer-employee agreement providing otherwise, an employee, as defined in section 663, may be employed or permitted to work for no more than 6 consecutive hours at one time unless he is given the opportunity to take at least 30 consecutive minutes of rest time, except in cases of emergency in which there is danger to property, life, public safety or public health. This rest time may be used by the employee as a mealtime. [1985, c. 212 (new).]

              1. Small business. This section does not apply to any place of employment where:

              A. Fewer than 3 employees are on duty at any one time; and [1985, c. 212 (new).]


              B. The nature of the work done by the employees allows them frequent breaks during their work day. [1985, c. 212 (new).][1985, c. 212 (new).]


              Note that the waiver is not unilateral. If the employer won't agree to it (and some won't, out of concern that they could get tagged by some idiot DOL investigator), then it won't happen and you can be required to take the break.
              Last edited by ScottB; 10-11-2007, 09:37 AM.
              Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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              • #8
                Scott, is the employer required to allow the waiver?
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                  Scott, is the employer required to allow the waiver?
                  I just finished editing the post to clarify that.
                  Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ScottB View Post
                    I just finished editing the post to clarify that.
                    Thank you, kind sir.
                    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                    • #11
                      This is great information. Thanks for your time and all your help. ~Rosie

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