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New York Lunch Break Laws

Employees taking their lunch break

Employers have many rules that they must abide by when it comes to their employees, and one of them is implementing lunch break laws that are in accordance with state law. Labor Law Section 162 sets forth the requirements for breaks at work based on the type of employment and hours worked. This law applies to every person in every occupation covered by labor law, including blue collar workers, white collar workers, and management.

Many employees work shifts that are eight hours or longer, so it’s important that they get sufficient time to eat and recharge. Breaks help boost productivity, so it benefits employers to ensure that workers are well-rested. They should be aware of the guidelines and follow them at all times to avoid labor law violations, which can result in costly lawsuits.

When is an Employee Required to Take Lunch?

Factory workers are required to take a one-hour lunch and another one-hour meal break for shifts lasting longer than six hours. The lunch break must be taken between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., while the meal break must be taken at the halfway point of any shifts lasting longer than six hours and starting between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Employees who do not work in a factory who work for six hours or longer are to be given a 30-minute lunch break between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for shifts worked during that time period. If they work longer than six hours, they are also given a 45-minute meal break that must be taken at the halfway point of their shift between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In addition to these lunch breaks at work, all employees are required to take a 20-minute meal break between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. if their workday begins before 11 a.m. and lasts until after 7 p.m.

Special Circumstances

There are situations in which these requirements can be waived. For example, employers can require that employees take shorter meal periods. However, there must be special circumstances that apply. The Department of Labor must investigate and will then issue a special permit if approved.

There is also the one-employee shift exemption that allows employees to eat on the job. This applies to situations where an employee is the only one on duty and cannot be relieved to take lunch. The employer must explain to the employee that his or her lunch period may be interrupted, and the employee should consent to this, preferably in writing before he or she is hired.

Contact New York Employment Law Attorneys

It’s important to understand your rights in the workplace. If you are being forced to work without a lunch break, or are given only short breaks, seek legal help to determine your next steps.

If your employer is not complying with New York lunch break laws, seek help from the experienced New York employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. To schedule a consultation, contact our firm at (347) -464-8694.

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