As a 1099 worker, am I entitled to a 10 minute break?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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As a 1099 worker, am I entitled to a 10 minute break?

I was working as a 1099 employee. Working as a brand ambassador at a home show in Washington state. I’ve worked for this company for almost 7 months. I was told in the beginning that I was allowed a 20 minute break. However, I was let go because I took a 10 minute break and bought an item at the show. Am I allowed to take a 10-20 minute break if I’m a 1099 employee and I was working a 6 hour day that day?

Asked on April 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are *truly* an independent contractor (that's the correct term--there is no such as a "1099 worker") then you are not owed a break: the labor laws, such as those providing for breaks for hourly staff, only apply to employees (what you might call "W2 workers"). 
The issue is: are you truly an independent contractor? If the employer set your hours, told you how to do your job, could direct you in what to do, when, you may be an actual employee, not an independent contractor. Go to the U.S.  Dept. of Labor website and look under "independent contractor"; see if you do qualify as an independent contractor or should be considered a contractor. If you should be an employee, it may be they had to pay the employer share of withholding for you; contribute to unemployment for you; possibly offer you benefits; possibly offer you break time (and not fired you for taking one). If you believe it may that you were an employee, contact your state department of labor then about filing a complaint. 
If you do appear, under the criteria, to be an independent contractor,  they did not owe you a break and could terminate you for taking one.

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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