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Law Enforcement Unpaid Lunch Minnesota

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  • Law Enforcement Unpaid Lunch Minnesota

    I'm a supervisor (hourly paid) in invesitgations for a city police department in MN. I work an 8 1/2 hour day, and in that time period I'm given a 1/2 hour unpaid lunch break that, according to our contract, can be interrupted. If my break time is interrupted I'm entitled to overtime for the time period that is interrupted. During my lunch break, I carry my badge, gun, handcuffs, and cellphone. During my lunch break, I'm expected to respond to emergencies should the arise and enforce local, state, and federal laws if I witness them. I'm also expected to answer questions not only from members of my department but Human Services, Dispatch Center, and clerical staff at the department. It is my contention that I am not being relieved of my duties; therefore, my lunch break should be paid. Am I right?

  • #2
    You get to sit down and relax for the full half hour, even though you MIGHT get called, you don't get paid.

    You get interrupted by a work call, for whatever reason, fifteen minutes into the break, you get paid for the full half hour.

    Your union contract could have restrictions that exceed federal or state law, but from what you posted, it does not.
    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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    • #3
      You must be paid if the time is actually interrupted. It does not have to be paid if there is just the potential for it to be.
      I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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      • #4
        Mn. statute: 177.254 MANDATORY MEAL BREAK.
        Subdivision 1. Meal break. An employer must permit each employee who is working for eight or more consecutive hours sufficient time to eat a meal.
        Subd. 2. Payment not required. Nothing in this section requires the employer to pay the employee during the meal break.
        Subd. 3. Collective bargaining agreement. Nothing in this section prohibits employers and employees from establishing meal periods different from those provided in this section pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

        Federal law does not require meal breaks. However; if they are offered, per the fed. DOL, unpd. meal periods are usually considered 30 min. or more. It can only be unpd. though if the meal period is duty free.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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        • #5
          Thanks for everybody getting back to me.

          I guess Betty made my point for me.....the lunch break must be duty free. I'm thinking that I am on duty during my lunch and that if I put my phone and equipment in my desk drawer then I would be off duty. It would make more sense to put me on the clock for my lunch since it would end up costing the city more in overtime on weekly basis than if my lunch were just paid.

          Thanks again!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sigcopper View Post
            I'm thinking that I am on duty during my lunch and that if I put my phone and equipment in my desk drawer then I would be off duty.
            No.

            By that line of reasoning, those carrying pagers and cell phones after hours, so that they COULD be called would be in a paid status. They are not. You are available for work, if called, but simply having the phone and other items with you does not mean you are working on your lunch break.
            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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            • #7
              During lunch even if you carry your badge, gun, handcuffs & cellphone, your lunch is still duty free if you are not performing any work (any of your duties).
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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              • #8
                Okay- I guess the state mediator that came to assist in our contract was mistaken then. He was the one that brought it up that we should be paid for our lunch. I took his word for it since he is employed by the state and deals with labor issues.

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                • #9
                  If he said that under the law you have to be paid just because you are carrying a cell phone, then yes, he is mistaken.
                  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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                  • #10
                    Agree. Union contract negotiators are not normally attorneys, nor versed in wage and hour law. How do I know this you ask? I've tried to implement union contract work/pay rules in payroll that I KNOW where in violation of law.
                    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 was a State of Minnesota Mediator. He isn't our union person. He is employed by the State of Minnesota not by the police officers.
                      Last edited by sigcopper; 04-21-2008, 04:48 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Still, mediators aren't normally employment law attorneys either.
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                        Comment

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