Am I required to take a 30 minute lunch?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Am I required to take a 30 minute lunch?

My employer has reprimanded me for not taking a 30 minute lunch which they have
in their policy handbook. They have said that this is because I am, by law,
required to take this lunch. They then added a lunch in on my time clock, which
removed 30 minute of time worked for that day.

Am I actually required to take this lunch? Are they then required to compensate
me for the additional 30 minutes I worked?

Asked on September 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They can't make you eat, but they can insist that you "clock out" or go off the clock (i.e. not work; not be paid) for "lunch" for 30 minutes per day. Whether or not the law requires this, your employer can require this: your employer has full discretion to set the hours, time, etc. you work. So if your employer believes that you should be off the clock for 30 minutes, you must be off the clock. So long as you are truly off the clock (i.e. not required to work) during that time, they do not have to pay you for it.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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