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Question regarding 15 minute breaks in MA Massachusetts

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  • Question regarding 15 minute breaks in MA Massachusetts

    My wife works in a data entry department in Massachusetts. Her supervisor told everyone that they are no longer allowed to take their 15 minute paid breaks at their desks due to Mass labor laws.

    She's not sure if this is a actual law or not. She also doesn't want to have to go across the building to the break room just for 15 minutes. She usually just reads at her desk, then starts working again when her break is over.

    If anyone is familiar with these laws, I would appreciate some clarity. Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Sauce View Post
    My wife works in a data entry department in Massachusetts. Her supervisor told everyone that they are no longer allowed to take their 15 minute paid breaks at their desks due to Mass labor laws.

    She's not sure if this is a actual law or not. She also doesn't want to have to go across the building to the break room just for 15 minutes. She usually just reads at her desk, then starts working again when her break is over.

    If anyone is familiar with these laws, I would appreciate some clarity. Thanks.
    The law doesn't address where the employee must be. The employer is allowed to tell the employee that they may not take their break at their desk.
    Please no private messages about your situation.

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    • #3
      There is no law that gives paid breaks in MA. MA law is 30 minutes unpaid for 6 or more hours of work.

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      • #4
        There is no law in MA (or any other state) that dictates where an employee may or may not take their break.

        However, that does not prohibit the employer from making such a regulation. If your wife's boss says she cannot take her break sitting at her desk, then she may not take her break sitting at her desk. Period.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by HRinMA View Post
          There is no law that gives paid breaks in MA. MA law is 30 minutes unpaid for 6 or more hours of work.
          Employers must provide a 30-min. meal break to all employees within six hours of beginning work. Meal breaks can be unpaid.

          Ma. does not require rest or coffee breaks, though as a practical matter, many employers do provide a 10-15 min. break. Under the U.S. Dept. of Labor regs. breaks shorter than 20 minutes must be counted as "hours worked" and must be paid.
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          • #6
            Away from desk

            Some employers require that breaks be away from work area so that there is no question that employee was not working during that period, for WH purposes. Don't want that time counting to satisfying the 40 hour requirement.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CTDad View Post
              Some employers require that breaks be away from work area so that there is no question that employee was not working during that period, for WH purposes. Don't want that time counting to satisfying the 40 hour requirement.
              Of course, rest breaks ARE work time for purposes of overtime. Your reasoning doesn't apply in this situation.
              I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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