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

  • If I have accrued sick time and I am having to take off the rest of my work day due to my illness. Is my job able to deny that time?
  • We live in an RV resort, own a park model. We have a business license to do yard work and have been doing well here in the park helping older people that cannot do what we do. We work on the weekends, but the park is considering prohibiting working on Sunday. Can they do this according to AZ law. They have also issued a ruling that people who work for the park cannot do side jobs in the park at all, even on their own time and with their own equipment. Is this legal?
  • 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?
  • An employee who dislikes me filed a false claim against me saying I swore at him. Hr brought in an invstigator without telling me and made me answer questions and then I was told I would have to take a polygraph. What are my rights. I have been a high achieving employee for 9 years and was offered a promotion last week. Now I think they want to fire me and it has ruined my credibility.
  • Question-once a work schedule of an employee has been posted can the employer make changes to the schedule w/o consulting the employee, and if employee can not accommodate the change can the employer retaliate with disciplinary action.
  • can my former employer still us my name and title on their website 3 years later.
  • I am 15 and looking for a job. I'd like to know if I am eligible to work yet or do I have to still wait?
  • Why am I forced by my employer to pay for online Arizona lottery tickets that customers refuse to pay for when they claim the tickets were not how they asked them to be. I am now even being threatened with being fired if the lottery sales numbers are off! My paycheck has been garnished twice for this and all employees are harrased over this idiotic lottery policy and paranoid with making a wrong register key slip because regardless of actual money lost or just essentially an overring it is Always the same ,lottery number being short real or not, we pay. Is this Legal??
  • 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.
  • Can I Collect unemployment if I Quit my job I work for a Nursing and a Rehabilitation center I have Two co- workers and 6 patients that tested positive for COVID-19 2 deaths on Monday They will be excepting patients with callback from the hospital I do not feel safe I have a husband that has just recover from cancer. I don’t want to expose him. I am very concern with my family wellbeing

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
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