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Required to take paid breaks?

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  • Required to take paid breaks?

    Working in Maine.
    My place of business requires us to take scheduled paid breaks or risk disciplinary action. The funny thing is that if the amount of break time exceeds 7% of our work day (Basically ~17 minutes in a 4 hr shift, 34 in an 8hr, etc) then our pay drops to $7.50 per hour down from a max of $12.00.

    We generally have the ability to leave early and taking paid breaks increase the break time %. GIven there are no state laws requiring paid breaks is it legal for the "corporate policy" to demand this if it has the risk of lowering my rate of pay?

    Odd question, I know -- thanks ahead of time.

  • #2
    It is unclear from the Maine DOL site whether or not the rate of pay can be decreased after the work is performed.

    However, you mention the "ability" to leave early. Does that mean the employer is requiring you to? Or it's your option? If it's the employee's option, then just stay to the final minute and the percentage of break time to total time will not be an issue.

    BTW, I've never heard of something like this. You may want to contact the state DOL at 207-624-6400 to inquire about reducing the hourly rate after the hours are worked.

    I will check one of my Maine colleagues also and see if I can find out more.
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    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply.

      We had run in to an issue in the past where the employer was requiring us to leave early, but that was rectified and currently we are able to leave early as "lack of work" at our discretion.

      I was able to find that although maine state DOL laws don't require you to take paid breaks, if the companys policy does then you must abide by that. Only question that remains is if this break requirement can be used to adversely effect your pay rate?

      thanks again,


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