Other Work Issues Article


Work Breaks and Lunches

Employers determine if and when employees can take a break or lunch period.  If an employer provides work breaks or lunches, the employer determines the length of the break and lunch period.

There is no federal law or Arizona state law that says employers must provide breaks and lunches.  There are mandatory break and lunch period laws in some other states, but not Arizona.

Pay for Breaks and Lunches

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), a federal law, tells those employers that provide breaks and lunches how to pay employees when taking a break or lunch.

Breaks – employers must pay employees during a break period.  Therefore, if an employer provides 2 ten minute breaks during a shift, the employer must pay the employee during the breaks.

Lunch periods - - employers do not have to pay the employee for lunch periods. Employers usually provide lunch periods of thirty minutes or more.  Under special conditions, employers can provide an unpaid lunch period shorter than 30 minutes.

In order for any lunch period to be unpaid, the employer must relieve the employee of all duties.  For example, if the employer expects an employee to eat lunch at her desk and answer the phone when the phone rings, the employer has not relieved the employee of all duties.  Because the employee is not relieved of all duties, the employer must pay the employee during this lunch period.

Other Important Things


1.    Employers can limit an employee’s physical activity during a paid break.  Many employers require the employee to remain on premises during any paid break or paid lunch.
2.    If your employer has a paid break or lunch period policy, the employer may deny paid break or lunch to employees and does not have to provide the employees additional pay or more breaks the next day.  For example, because of a very busy workload on a day, the employer does not let anyone take either of two ten minute paid breaks that day.  The employer does not have to pay the employees an additional twenty minutes for the two paid breaks missed that day.
3.    Employers determine when employees take breaks and lunch periods.  For example, an employer’s normal workday is 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with a thirty minute unpaid lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.  So that the employee can get home earlier, the employee asks if she can work 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and not take the 30 minute non-paid lunch.  The employee can deny this request.

What to Do if Your Rights Have Been Violated

If you believe your employer is not paying you properly for lunch and break periods, review your employer’s pay policy to determine who you should speak to and arrange a meeting with that person.  Have a meeting with that person and explain why you feel you are not being paid correctly.  Give the employer as many specific facts as you have. Listen to the employer’s explanation.

If, after speaking with your employer, you still think you are not being paid correctly, you should contact the Wage and Hour division of the U.S. Department of Labor.  This is the contact information for the Arizona office.

Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I have been verbally harassed by a company that out-sources my company to do work for them. I have a few pages documenting what has been said or name calling that has occurred ( so many names everything from "scar face, lesbian, and whore). I was wondering if this would be considered a hostile work environment?
  • if i was to be offered living allowances by my company while travelling but returned home could this be seen as an act of fraud
  • How old do you have to be to get a job in arizona ? online it says 14 but i want to be sure.
  • I am wondering if it is considered fraud for an employer to claim we would be interviewed via phone by an impartial party then turn around and hire someone outside the company without ever interviewing the internal applicants?
  • Can my current employer require me to sign a certification which prohibits me from holding and using my real estate license or appraiser's license. I was hired in the Real Estate Owned dept of a bank and this was not a requirement as a condition of employment originally but now they want this certification signed, can they terminate my employment if I refuse to sign the certification?
  • I need to take medicine 3 times while at work, can they tell me i can't go to my car to take it
  • My daughter passed away recently and I requested her last paycheck. I asked the employer to add my name with proper identification to her check. He only made it out to her, therefore I am unable to cash the check or add it to my account. How can I cash her check?
  • I put in a two week notice, but after the two weeks were up, my old job would not give me my PTO (paid time off) and I accumulated 80 hrs worth. What do I do and who can I talk to?
  • i work in the cleaning industry my boss stopped paying us for the time we commute from one job to the other we drive his truck to do work for him we are paid hourly so for the 1 to 3 hours ea. day we are in route to a job we dont receive compensation for our time ? and he also has started putting, what should be a gas allowance on my check but has it described as a reimbrestment and he dont list correct the total of my deduct. in the total deduct column i cant tell if i am paying the taxes on the gas money please help i need to quit if he is not legally abided to pay drive time thank you
  • I work for a car dealership and the store I work in the General Manager will take away our days off if we have a off site sale that week so we are forced to work 8am-8pm all week with no days off. is this legal? also can he take a day off away from us if we sell less than a certain amount of cars in a month? what is the law about days off?

STORIES

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS