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Thread: PA law for Mandatory Lunch time for Hourly workers Pennsylvania

  1. #1
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    Default PA law for Mandatory Lunch time for Hourly workers Pennsylvania

    I was just reprimanded for not taking a lunch. I am an hourly employee in PA and choose not to take a lunch. I can't find any info online regarding this law. As a matter of fact, here's the email I received from payroll:

    It is the law that hourly employees punch out for 30 minutes if they work over 6 hours. Can you please start clocking in and out for a 30 minute lunch?

    Can you give me a link to something that i can print out to prove there is no law?

    Thanks in advance!!!

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    I forgot to mention that I searched this site and found a few threads saying that no such law exists...but i can't find a link for anything on the PA state website.
    Last edited by frankrigney; 06-05-2006 at 12:16 PM.

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    The U.S. Department of Labor summarizes the state laws on meal breaks here: http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/meal.htm PA is not listed, which means that there is no law requiring lunch breaks.

    This means that it's up to the employer. If the employer says that you must take a 30-minute lunch break, then you need to do it. Any break that is 20 minutes or longer during which the employee is completely relieved of his/her duties and is free to do as they please does not need to be paid. So, if they are requiring you to take a 30-minute lunch they can ask you to clock out since they don't have to pay you for it.

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    You are not going to find anything on the state law websites about a law that doesn't exist. The laws mandate what an employer MUST do and MUST NOT do; not what an employer MAY do.

    Since an employer MAY require an employee to take a lunch but is not REQUIRED to do so, you won't find anything on the state law sites saying that there isn't a law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marketeer
    The U.S. Department of Labor summarizes the state laws on meal breaks here: http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/meal.htm PA is not listed, which means that there is no law requiring lunch breaks.

    This means that it's up to the employer. If the employer says that you must take a 30-minute lunch break, then you need to do it. Any break that is 20 minutes or longer during which the employee is completely relieved of his/her duties and is free to do as they please does not need to be paid. So, if they are requiring you to take a 30-minute lunch they can ask you to clock out since they don't have to pay you for it.
    thanks for the lightning quick answers guys. I was told by payroll that PA law requires a 30 minute lunch after 6 hours of work. I guess now that i think about it, not finding an answer on their website would mean that no such law exists

    I'll be having a little chat with my manager tomorrow. Thanks again!

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    FYI - this addresses PA stance on meal periods.

    "What is the Law Regarding Breaks and Meal Periods?

    Pennsylvania employers are required to provide break periods of at least 30 minutes for minors ages 14 through 17 who work five or more consecutive hours. Employers are not required to give breaks for employees 18 and over. If your employer allows breaks, and they last less than 20 minutes, you must be paid for the break. If your employer allows meal periods, the employer is not required to pay you for your meal period if you do not work during your meal period and it lasts more than 20 minutes."

    http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp/view.asp?a=142&Q=61106&landiPNavCtr=|#1024

    If your employer is requiring you to take a lunch, do so. Otherwise they can use your refusal as grounds for discipline up to and including termination.
    Last edited by CMorgan; 06-05-2006 at 02:35 PM.

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    Just keep in mind that just because Payroll was mistaken about the law requiring a lunch break, does not mean that it is your choice whether to take one or not. It is the employer's, not the employee's opt what hours are worked, and that includes breaks. Whether there is a law requiring it or not, if the employer requires that you take a lunch break, you take a lunch break. Period, end of story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg
    Just keep in mind that just because Payroll was mistaken about the law requiring a lunch break, does not mean that it is your choice whether to take one or not. It is the employer's, not the employee's opt what hours are worked, and that includes breaks. Whether there is a law requiring it or not, if the employer requires that you take a lunch break, you take a lunch break. Period, end of story.
    Oh trust me, i understand that. My employer is pretty casual however the person in charge of payroll is under the false assumption that PA REQUIRES everyone to take 30 minute lunch breaks. Now that i know that's not the case I have to talk to someone. I'm one of those people that likes to work through lunch and get out of Dodge 30 minutes early.

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    Nonetheless, it is up to your employer whether to permit it or not. It is not a choice you are granted under the law.

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    Default PA law for Mandatory Lunch time

    My question is similar to frankrigney in that my employer is requiring me to take an unpaid 30 minute lunch break, but is not scheduling that time in my day and is still deducting 30 minutes of pay every day whether I've taken that break or not. I'm told that if I can't fit the 30 minutes into my day, when I return to home office I should sit around for 30 minutes before clocking out. Can they do this? After a long day, I just want to go home.

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    When i informed my boss about the fact that there was no PA law he got pretty aggivated with me, but then relented. I work 8 hours and leave now with no forced lunch

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    If you work through your lunch period, you must be paid for that time. However, if the company policy is that you take a lunch, then you take a lunch. The company is within its rights to discipline you for not following policy.

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    You were lucky, Frank. You could just as easily have been fired, and it would have been legal.

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    I think you guys don't understand my problem. I was told that it was a "Pennsyvania Law" that i had to take a lunch if i worked 6 hours. It was never a company rule. When i told them that there is no such law, they relented. I wouldn't have had a problem if they said it's company policy to take a lunch.

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    I understand. What I'm trying to accomplish is make sure other posters don't get the idea that because there is no law making a lunch mandatory, they get to decide whether to take one or not. It is STILL the employer's option whether an employee takes a lunch or not. YOUR boss decided to allow you not to take it, but if he had decided that you had to take one anyway, it would have been just your tough luck; you would have had to take it or be fired. If someone else's boss says, I don't care if there's a law or not - you still have to take a lunch, then guess what? That someone else would have to take a lunch.

    The fact that there is not a law making it mandatory is irrelevant. The employer sets the hours and that includes whether breaks are taken or not. I don't know why that is such a difficult concept for some people to grasp.

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    If your employer sets your daily schedule which includes driving time from customer to customer and doesn't allow time in the schedule for a half hour lunch break, but tells you it's mandatory. Can they deduct 1/2 hour whether or not that time was made available to you?

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    You must be paid for all the time you worked. If you work through your lunch break you must be paid for it.

    But you can be fired for not taking the break. It sounds like it's going to be up to you to FIND time in the schedule to take it, if you're being told it's mandatory.

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    Default Hi

    Is it legal for my employer to keep me at my place of employment when i go on my lunch break? Keep in mind that i do clock out and am releived of all my duties for 30 minutes. They say that i wont get back to work on time if we leave the building.

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    Yes, it is. The fact that you are relieved of all duties is what makes the time noncompensable. The fact that you are required to stay on the premises does not, in and of itself, make the time payable. See paragraph (b) here:
    http://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/Ti...9CFR785.19.htm

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