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Mandatory lunch breaks?

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  • Mandatory lunch breaks?

    I work through lunch every day. My employer says that even if I don't take my 30 minute lunch break, "by law" they cannot pay me for it. They say that even if I don't clock out, they will deduct the time from my hours. Is this legal?
    Last edited by Prohandlr; 07-04-2006, 07:04 AM.

  • #2
    No, it's not. If you work through your lunch you must be paid for it.

    You did not post your state so we can't tell you if the breaks are mandatory under the law or not. However, even if the law does not require that you be given a break, your employer has the right to do so.

    What that boils down to is, while you must be paid if you work through your lunch, you can be disciplined or even fired for not taking it.
    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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    • #3
      Mandatory lunch breaks in Pa?

      Sorry, I'm in Pa. My employer allows a 30 minute break for lunch.
      You're saying that, even though I don't want a lunch break, they can fire me for not taking one? As far as I can tell, Pa. employers are required to offer a 30 minute lunch break to hourly employees who work more than 5 hours in a day, but I can't find any law that says the employee has to take the break; nor can I find any law that says the employer "must" deduct the time, even if the employee doesn't take the break.

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      • #4
        Your understanding is incorrect. PA law does NOT require meal periods for employees 18 years of age and older. Therefore, your premise is flawed. Unless you're under 18.
        http://www.dli.state.pa.us/landi/cwp/view.asp?a=142&Q=61106&landiPNavCtr=|#10

        However, the answer to your question is still yes. You can be disciplined for not taking a lunch period if your employer requires it, even though the law does not.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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        • #5
          The law does not say that the time must be deducted even if you do not take it. Your employer is wrong about that. In fact, Federal law says that they CAN'T deduct the time if you work through it - you have to be paid for all the time you actually work.

          However, there does not have to be a law giving your employer permission to force you to take a break. In the absence of a law requiring or prohibiting an action, it is up to the employer. Since there is no law that says, "The employee can't be required to take a break unless they choose to" the employer is, therefore, allowed to require you to take a break. So yes, you can be fired for not taking a break if your employer wants you to.
          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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          • #6
            Mandatory lunch breaks in Pa?

            Thank you for your prompt replies, and clarification on this issue. Know I can discuss this issue with my employers armed with facts.

            This site is a wonderful resource, and sorely needed, given the myriad of labor laws around the country.

            Again, thank you.

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