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

  • Is it legal to street perform ? I have searched street perform and busker to no avail. Do I need a special permit? Can I just go to a store, ask for the managers permission, and stand outside singing and collecting tips?
  • 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?
  • My ex boss and I had a disagreement about a verification issue through email. She was very rude and disrespectful. The following morning my husband who is her current employee called me to tell me that she cc'd him in his email the conversation. Is this a privacy breech? Although, he is my husband, he is a current employee and I am not. This is second time this has happened. The first time with a different employee. Do I have any legal rights here?
  • I work for a group home w/disabled adults. One of the clients received an I-Pad and the manager of the home wants us to sign a form that states if it ends up missing during your shift, the entire staff will be terminated. Is this even legal. I have not signed it as of yet.
  • I am wanting to get my certified license to become a auto recovery specialist and need to know what felonies will stop me from getting certified or are the any that will stop me from getting it. And of there are felonies that will stop me how can I get it fixed to where I can get it
  • I quit my job in May to seek a higher position. Contacted my former employer July and let them know it was not working out and would like to come back. Was told they would call me in october when the position became available again. Found out they offered the position to a current employee, but, never contaced me to offer me my position back as stated they would. What legal recourse do have at this point?
  • I quit my employer after 12 years employment. After i changed states I reapplied and was told that I was Blacked Balled from applying because of attendance. Is there anything i can do?
  • do you have to be licensed to be a 1099 independant contractor
  • If I worked at a company for 2 years and they say they lost my file is it mandatory that I fill out another job application
  • What if a customer is not willing to provide reasonable accommodations for an illness or disability? Who can you contact?

STORIES

  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .
  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

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