We are here to stand behind you, bringing justice to fair wages.

The Law Offices of Thomas More Holland understand the importance of the respect you deserve for working hard, especially when you are not being compensated. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2007, Iliadis v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. became several multimillion dollar lawsuits because of the negligence that Wal-Mart had in giving mandated breaks and forcing workers to perform “off-the-clock”. Whether it was working before or after their shift, or forcing them to work through an unpaid lunch, 72,000 employees took a stand – thanks to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

What Does The FLSA Say About Working Through An Unpaid Lunch?

unpaid lunchUnder 29 CFR 785.18 (Code of Federal Regulations), 5-20 minute breaks must be paid by the employer while, for a meal period to be unpaid, has to be at least 30 minutes uninterrupted by work. Note again, however, that federal law does not mandate breaks or meal periods.

There are some states that have specific laws regarding meal and rest breaks. A few examples include (but are not limited to):

  • California – 30 minute uninterrupted, unpaid lunch after 5 hours worked – unless scheduled for 6 hours
  • Delaware – If shift is 7.5 hours, 30 minute uninterrupted, unpaid lunch after first 2 hours but before last 2 hours
  • Illinois – Required for hotel room attendants only
  • Kentucky – Reasonable meal period between 3rd and 5th hour of shift
  • Maine – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch after 6 consecutive hours
  • Massachusetts – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch if worked over 6 hours
  • Minnesota – Reasonable period if shift is 8+ consecutive hours
  • Nebraska – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch, off premises, at suitable lunch time
  • New Hampshire – 30 minutes after 5 consecutive hours, unless employee can eat while working
  • New York – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch if shift is more than 6 hours
  • North Dakota – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch if shift is more than 5 hours
  • Rhode Island – 20 minutes paid for 6 hour shift, 30 minutes unpaid lunch for 8 hour shift.
  • Tennessee – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch if shift is 6 hours
  • Washington – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch for 5 hour shift
  • West Virginia – 20 minutes (paid) if work is more than 6 consecutive hours
  • Wisconsin – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch after 6 consecutive hours
  • New Mexico – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch
  • Guam – 30 minutes uninterrupted, unpaid lunch after 5 hours, except when in 6 hour shift and there is a mutual consent waive meal period.
  • Puerto Rico – 1 hour, after end of third but before beginning of the 6th hour. Double-time pay is required for working during meal hour.

If your state is not listed, specifically Pennsylvania, it means that there is no state law in regard to rest and meal breaks unless employee is between the ages of 14 and 17. In a minor’s case, they must receive 30 minutes of unpaid lunch if they work 5 or more consecutive hours. Keep in mind – your employer is not required to grant breaks.

So the question remains; are you being treated fairly during your lunch breaks?

The TMH Law Difference

If your employer is forcing you to work without pay during your lunch break, give us a call here at The Law Offices of Thomas More Holland. As you can see, we are highly experienced when it comes to meal and rest breaks. We stand as an advocate for fair wages. Give us a call today.