There’s no doubt: lunch is an important meal. While all the meals of the day are important, workers can attest to the fact that a day without a lunch break is a non-productive day. Not only do lunch breaks provide a welcome respite and incentive to power through those last, tiring morning hours, but it also gives you the strength to continue on. The downsides of skipping lunch are clearly documented.
If lunch is so important, you might be surprised to hear that NJ meal break labor laws don’t exist! In fact, if you have a break to eat your lunch, that’s generally an unpaid lunch. NJ doesn’t follow the trend of other states who have put in place regulations requiring lunch breaks…let alone paid lunch breaks!
If You’re Getting An Unpaid Lunch, New Jersey Laws Are To Blame
Here’s how it works.
Federal law doesn’t stipulate or require any kind of lunch break during the day. If, however, you are eating while working (while driving, or answering calls at your desk), you must be paid for that time spent working. If an employer tries to claim that as some kind of ‘lunch break’, they are wrong to do so.
However, in the NJ labor laws, 15 minute breaks are required to be paid. Any break from 5-20 minutes that is designated as a ‘break’ counts as part of the workday, and must be paid. Employers are not required by the law to give breaks, but any breaks given that last less than 20 minutes must be paid. It’s not uncommon for an employer to offer a fifteen minute break in the morning and the afternoon, and a half an hour for lunch. It’s also not uncommon for an employer to then claim an hour worth of unpaid break-time. According to federal and state law, however, at least the two fifteen minute breaks must be paid.
When it comes to an unpaid lunch, New Jersey laws don’t do much to protect you. But that doesn’t mean that a crooked employer won’t try to take advantage of what little protection you do have under the law, twisting it or misrepresenting it to your disadvantage.
Don’t be caught unawares. Contact TMH Law to find out more today.
Related Tags: Unpaid Lunch New Jersey | NJ Labor Laws