Does an employee have to take a lunch break if they do not want to take a lunch break ?

Employee works 8 hours straight and does not require a lunch break, employee works in a department that is open from 8-4 daily and wants to leave at 400pm. At this point in time no company policy regarding not taking lunch breaks, other employees uses lunch breaks to attend to personal business at the end of day.What is the difference? Is there a law requiring an employee to take a lunch break?

Asked on May 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have the right to skip your meal break pursuant to the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, as an "at will" employee, your employer can set workplace conditions much as it sees fit (absent legally actionable discrimination, breach of safety standards, etc.). This includes mandating that employees take their meal breaks. The fact is that skipping lunch means that the employer has to compensate an employee for the work done during the normal lunch period and this could put the employee in an overtime situation. However, it is within the employer's discretion to let the employee go home early from their shift; possibly this would be an option for you.


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