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Meal Periods - NY

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  • Meal Periods - NY

    I can't find anything specific on this. I'm hoping someone can point me to anything in NY Labor Law that would address it.

    If an employee chooses not to take a lunch break, is this legal? Does it make a difference whether or not the supervisor is asked for approval? If, as a result of not taking the lunch, the employee works more hours than he or she is scheduled, how can this be handled?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

  • #2
    As far as I know, NY is not one of those states where a lunch break cannot be waived. So if the employee chooses not to take a lunch break AND THE EMPLOYER AGREES, that is legal. However, the employer has the option of requiring an employee to take a break regardless of whether the law makes it mandatory or not. If the employer says you have to take a lunch break, you have to take a lunch break.

    If the employee works through the lunch, they have to be paid for it. If this results in the employee working more hours than they are scheduled for, there is no legal issue - nothing in the law says an employee cannot be required to work more, or less, hours than the schedule says. However, if it results in the employee working more than 40 hours in a week, they legally have to be paid overtime for any time over 40. For this reason, the employer may choose not to (and does not have to) agree to allowing the employee to work through lunch, and that is the employer's, not the employee's perogative.
    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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