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PA short breaks/meals? Pennsylvania

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  • PA short breaks/meals? Pennsylvania

    I'm wondering if there's any recent changes to PA laws regarding required breaks and meal periods (for adults)? I've seen some posts but all are several years old.

    Situation: I work in a big-box retailer in PA. Recently changes to the company meal policy were posted in the employee break room. However, the Assistant Manager who does scheduling and the HR director are saying we should follow the old policy instead, since the store would be fined for following the new policy. From what I've researched, though, I don't see ANYTHING in PA law which would prevent the company from limiting whatever policy it wants, even if it eliminated breaks altogether.

    The old policy was basically,if you're scheduled:
    under 6 hours: 15 minute break
    6 to 6:59: 15 minute break or 30 minute lunch break (clocking out)
    7 -8:59: 15 minute break, 30 minute meal break (required)
    9 hrs : 2 15s, and a 1-hour meal break (but managers could allow you to take less than 1 hr, as long as it was at least 30 min)

    New policy basically pushed the meal breaks back an hour:
    7-7:59 - option to take 30 minute meal break
    8:00 -8:59 - required 30 minute meal break
    9:00 - required minimum of 30, option for 1 hr
    (the 'short breaks' remained basically the same)

    Are there any LEGAL requirements here? If not, which policy should be followed - the one posted, or the one we are being told to follow despite the new posting?


  • #2
    Your state is not one of the few states which regulates/requires breaks of any type for adults (children are different). You would follow federal law as far as breaks being paid or unpaid. As such, your employer is free to establish their own policies so long as they pay breaks which must be paid under federal law. No legal entity cares which policy you follow so I suggest following the one your employer (read supervisor) tells you to follow. It may be there there are locations in other states which do have a law and the company is attempting to keep all employees using the same policy. It could be that they just think they will get more employees to follow the rules if they tell them it is the "law". Either way, you do what your employer tells you to do.
    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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