Imagine a scenario where you are the manager of a business that employs individuals at an hourly rate. The hourly employees are at work from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. with an unpaid 30-minute break for lunch. At some point, your business begins to grow and becomes so busy that many of your hourly employees choose to work through lunch - working an extra 30 minutes each day.
Do you have to pay your employees if they work through their lunch?
Yes. Massachusetts law states that hourly employees must receive an unpaid 30-minute break after working six hours. Typically, this is a meal break where the employee must be free to leave and stop working for 30 minutes.
Do you have to pay your employees overtime for working through their lunch?
It depends on the nature of the work performed by the employee. Generally, the majority of hourly employees in Massachusetts are entitled to overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week. In the above scenario, the employees worked 42.5 hours in one week. Therefore, they are entitled to 2.5 hours of overtime.
Can you force your employees to work through their 30-minute break?
No. Massachusetts law prohibits employers from forcing their employees to work through lunch. Only an employee can waive his or her right to a thirty-minute break.
When must you pay your employees for working through their 30-minute break?
Under Massachusetts Law, an employee must be paid for his or her meal period if their movement is restricted during the break, or if he or she is required to perform a job function while on break.
By: Kevin V. Maltby, Esquire