Lunch Breaks

Everyone has to eat, and you must get at least one-half hour for lunch if you work a full day, a lunch that is not interrupted. If you are on call during lunch - you have to answer a phone or customer questions as they come up  - then you have to be paid for the “lunch” that wasn’t about your really taking time off to enjoy your food.

If you work in a factory, you have to get a sixty minute lunch. Other workers generally have to get a 30 minute lunch, if you work at least six hours extending over normal lunch hours, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you begin work before 11 a.m. and end after 7 p.m., you must get an additional 20 minutes between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The employer does not have to pay you for the lunch break, if you really are free from work during the break. If, on the other hand, you are expected to do some work, or do work with the knowledge and acquiescence of your employer, you should be compensated for your so-called lunch break, because it is not really a break.

Employees who do are forced to work all or some of the time they are on lunch “break” without pay are being treated badly and shortchanged by their employers. Federal Law and New York State law do not permit your employer to interrupt your lunch time in a material way without paying for your time. Nor can your employer subject you to retaliation in New York State or New York City because you complain that you being paid for your interrupted lunch in violation of law.  

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 if you think that your employer's harmful actions stem from your being forced or “encouraged” to continue working during your lunch without being paid. We will use our more than 25 years of experience to help you resolve the matter by negotiation or by going to court in the State of New York or New York City.