Protected by federal law, hourly employees working shifts of at least five hours must receive an unpaid 30-minute meal period in which they are completely relieved of all duties and free to leave the work premises. If you are required to be "on-call" during this rest period, the employer is responsible for paying the employee a regular rate plus a premium on 1 hour's pay. This meal period can be waived at the request of the employee if the shift is not longer than 6 hours. Shifts 10 hours or longer, require a second meal period.
Employers are fully responsible for ensuring its employees take their meal period during the correct allotted timeframes. Meal breaks can not be waived, and on the same note, cannot be subtracted from the end of the shift. Employees must fully clock out.
Employers are required by law to clearly inform their employees about their rest breaks and provide a 10-minute rest break or fraction thereof must be provided and made available to hourly employees within a 4-hour period. Rest periods cannot be combined, grouped together, or removed from the end of a shift unless the employee specifically requests without coercion to waive the rest break.
If your meal and rest break rights have been violated, you may be owed some money. Employees are entitled to one hour of regular rate pay for every day on which they were not provided one or more paid rest periods. If you think your rights have been violated, call me today to see if you have a claim.