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Jan11

Break periods in busy restaurants

Is there a law in the state of Washington that states that an employer does not have to give a non-minor employee a break right away due to the volume of business?
I.E.- I run a very busy restaurant, and on weekends employees are asking for breaks at 7:00 to 7:30 pm during our busiest times. Is there something that protects the employer in this case?

In the State of Washington, employers must provide employees a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes for each 4 hours worked. The rest period must be allowed no later than the end of the third hour of the shift. Employers are required to pay for breaks

In the State of Washington, employers must provide at least a 30 minute meal period if an employee works more than 5 hours in a shift. Employees must be at least two hours into the shift before the meal time can start and the meal time cannot start more than five hours after the beginning of the shift. Employers are not required to pay for meal periods if workers are free from any duties for their entire meal period. Workers must be paid during their meal break when:

1) They are required or allowed to remain on duty

2) They are required to be on-call at the business premises or designated work-site to be available to return to duty even if they are not in fact called back to duty

3) They are called back to duty during their meal period even though they normally are not on call during the meal period.

Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. Federal law states that breaks lasting 5 to 20 minutes must be compensable. And lunch periods lasting 30 minutes do not need to be compensable. Federal law also states that unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer’s rules and any extensions of the break will be punished.

So even thou the federal government does not have any rules on breaks or lunch period, you are required to follow the State of Washington’s rules on breaks and lunches. Keep in mind Washington State does require a break be given and at a specific time but does not need to be more than 10 minutes for each hour worked.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 5:13 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management.
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