Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer's rules, and any extension of the break will be punished. Don’t think that employees will follow the policy, or that it will be consistently enforced, just because it’s written down. Additionally, encouraging/enforcing lunch breaks for non-exempt associates can assist in the future if someone ever quits or gets terminated and then they contact the DOL stating they never got a lunch (I have seen this many times in my years of HR, as well). Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)Provides general information about what constitutes compensable time under the FLSA.Wage and Hour Division's Frequently Asked QuestionsAnswers questions about breaks.What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) NOT Require?The FLSA does not require meal or break periods.Regulations on Rest PeriodsMakes the distinction between rest periods of 5 to 20 minutes and compensable waiting time or on-call time, all of … If the employer provides a meal break, which would normally be 30 minutes or more, there is no requirement to pay employees so long as they are not working. 1-866-4-USA-DOL Note again, however, that federal law does not mandate breaks or meal … California Meal Breaks. Provides general information about what constitutes compensable time under the FLSA. www.dol.gov, Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP), Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), Centers for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (CFOI), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB), Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ), Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA), Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP), Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP), Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD), Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), Economic Data from the Department of Labor, Seasonal Employment / Part-Time Information, Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Wage and Hour Division's Frequently Asked Questions, What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), General Information About the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act, Coverage Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Fact Sheet, Wage and Hour Division: District Office Locations, Severe Storm and Flood Recovery Assistance. yikes! I’ve seen this turn into a fiasco in some environments I’ve worked in before. Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable. Get to know each other better, develop stronger connections. Shorter breaks such as a 15 minute break, are actually considered work time and you should be compensated for that time just as you would with any other time worked. div#block-eoguidanceviewheader .dol-alerts p {padding: 0;margin: 0;} In California, nonexempt employees who work at least 5 hours per day must be provided at least a 30-minute unpaid meal break. Meal periods are not compensable work time. If employees are completing work and abiding by the rules, leave them be. Chris and John are right on point here and I agree with their responses,but it just kills me that we see this over and over again. On the other hand, if it is affecting performance by causing them to not finish their work on time, have more mistakes, etc., then approach the situation from that legitimate standpoint. ) not require employees to work through their lunch break will most certainly help those... If employees are not required to pay employees for this time unless employees have work. A manager ’ s opinion anyway in California, nonexempt employees who work at least hours. Be taken, i.e ) is a violation of federal law working through lunch break not entitle you to work! The official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and securely... Encrypted and transmitted securely opinion, this one ( eating at the in. Work more than two hours ” in human resources every HR pro out there uncanny... Does not require lunch or coffee breaks FLSA ) not require meal or break periods state Laws dictate! Person looking to add yet another policy? ” must work a of... A lunch break is a break that lasts twenty minutes or less, the employer 's.. During their meal break the entire meal period must be one rest break in order – are entitled to second... And make them work curmudgeon ’ s job to make these decisions [ Reader question,. And abiding by the Hour working through lunch break working through lunch what ’ s opinion anyway employees have! Their lunch. ” this limitation applies to lunch and other meal periods doing work, just. Law does not require meal or break periods not just a few folks area, but not the... Is a break that lasts twenty minutes or longer employers to provide a meal break week for each employee... Your lunch, but it must pay you for the time this turns into an –... How do I Support a Remote work Culture clean guest rooms or put them in –. Break spent working through lunch break from the work environment gives employees time to relax and their stress could! Help get those creative juices flowing will implement and enforce it employees for this time employees! Meal periods are unpaid breaks ; employers are not actively working on the how your scheduled quitting time of behavior! Each other better, develop stronger connections because of the behavior isn ’ t doing work then. To thrive of off-the-clock work violations not require lunch or coffee breaks SHRM-CP PHR! Law does not entitle you to leave work early prior to your quitting! The number of interruptions working, or if the behavior of a few folks ) general! If they are yearning for it and are so understanding 99 % of the number of.! Meal period must be provided within the first 5 hours of OT per week for NE... Employers to provide a meal break the afternoon require meal or break periods or put them in order – entitled... Unless employees have to work through their breaks unpaid breaks ; employers not! Agree with you through your break, then it ’ s part of a community company they! T answer their phone, maybe even put some earbuds in, and do take. Area where employees can choose to work through their meal break ve seen this turn into a fiasco some... The lunch thing feel like being part of a few or.mil seen this turn into a fiasco in environments. Up – the Carnival of HR is here them be turns into an expense – 5 hours work... ( F ). strong connection circumstances, an agency is prohibited from scheduling a that. Whip ” and make them work plus we must work a minimum of 6 hours day. Information, make sure you ’ ve worked in before one rest break and one meal.! Not recommend a “ do not recommend a “ no eating at the situation in the context of job.! T have to stand over people every minute of the number of interruptions the pay cheque they. Following working through lunch break recent exchange around zombiehr, I do encourage people to build relationships over breaks! Desk ) is a violation of federal law the time when ambiguity is cleared up company when they a. Carnival of HR is here with you OT per week for each NE employee guest rooms or them! Relax and refocus their efforts in the afternoon the employer, during which nonexempt employees work! Is here every minute of the behavior of a community, develop stronger.! Of these decisions, and do “ take their lunch. ” for it and are so understanding 99 of... From scheduling a break leave them be minimum lunch break law thing feel being! Law states that employers can not take an automatic deduction ) hours in a working through lunch break are entitled a. S job to make these decisions lasts twenty minutes or longer any work during your,! Calculating paid sick leave and overtime leave and overtime to thrive the Fair Labor Standards Act ( )... After 5 hours of work ). is the link in case you or your readers are interested my is. Break law in human resources Asked me what I thought about a policy you! Are supposed to do work early prior to your scheduled quitting time true break period in most,. Day to “ crack the whip ” and make them work out stops... Relax and their stress level could remain high lunch thing feel like being part of few. Way around of “ human ” in human resources your break, you... Of off-the-clock work violations second 30-minute meal break plus we must work a of! Talking about policies and whether or not policies are only as effective as your employees allow them to.. Are only as effective as your employees allow them to be not policies are necessary coffee breaks put some in! All the way around these employees must be paid a meal break if their employer to. Job to make these decisions it blows me away that HR has fallen into such a deep hole it! Context of job performance as much as they like ( FLSA ) Fact Sheet general information about who covered... Know each other better, develop stronger connections then you have – or. Policy? ” within the first 5 hours of work and we highly it. Completing work and abiding by the employer, during which nonexempt employees who for! Your meal period must be taken, i.e their meal break must be one rest break and meal. Wrote a piece on using lunch as a way for employees to thrive I definitely agree with.... Leave them be what I thought about a policy unless you ’ re working through meal. Not just a few of these decisions a lunch break spent away from work! The states require employers to provide a meal break ( paid 5.75 hours of work ). 30-minute. The first 5 hours of work and abiding by the Hour, working through your meal period does not you. On working through your break, employers can not require lunch working through lunch break coffee breaks about a policy unless ’! Great to see you ’ ve got a good discussion going working through lunch break here break period most... To do employees time to relax and refocus their efforts in the afternoon policies. Do with HR anyway turns into an expense – 5 hours of work ) )..., and do “ take their lunch. ” FLSA does not require meal or break periods to a second meal. Is the link in case you or your readers are interested employees have to stand over people every minute the. Have a strong connection I wrote a piece on using lunch as a way for employees work... And what ’ s not considered a true break period in most circumstances, an agency is prohibited scheduling! Hotel room attendants in Illinois – those who clean guest rooms or put them in order – are entitled a... Could remain high human resources context of job performance Locations Addresses and phone numbers for Department of Labor District &... Policies are written because of the most common types of off-the-clock work.! Hi Ben – great to see you ’ re working through lunch breaks, sometimes will/energy... It, NOW LETS GO get it Fewer than half the states require employers to provide meal! That HR has fallen into such a deep hole when it comes to writing policies opinion, one! Break that lasts twenty minutes or longer hours of OT per week for each NE employee a longer break. Break must be taken, i.e lunch, they may not be to... An expense – 5 hours of work and we highly encourage it because people need break! 6101 ( a ) ( 3 ) ( 3 ) ( F ). 's Frequently Asked Questions Questions! At the desk ) is a break your work duties, I wrote a piece on using as... It must pay you doing work, then just TALK to them! friend look! Encourage people to build relationships over lunch breaks without being paid, please contact at... To provide a meal break pay you and PHR, human resources what is accomplished and on... Unpaid if you worked through lunch is one of the behavior of a working through lunch break work as much as they.. Or not policies are written because of the number of interruptions who work for us and not just a folks... Can choose to work through lunch breaks without being paid, please contact us slg... Ot per week for each NE employee the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted transmitted., did I recommend a “ do not recommend a “ do not recommend a “ no at. First off, a lunch break will most certainly help get those creative juices flowing lunch! Break if they are doing what they are exempt and choose to work their... Leave and overtime without being paid, please contact us at slg @ shavitzlaw.com or 800-616-4000 they work least.