What are my rights on taking lunch?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Federal law does not require that employees be given lunch breaks, but many state laws do. In California, for example, the general rule for meal periods is that no person may be employed for a work period of more than five hours without a meal period of not less than 30 minutes. However, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent if a work period of not more than six hours will complete the day’s work. Unless the employee is completely relieved of duty, the meal period must be considered time worked. Also, if employees must eat on the premises, a suitable place for that purpose must be designated.

For more information on different states’ laws on lunch breaks, see the US Department of Labor website.

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