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Leaving Work Premises during Lunch Break

Is there a labor law which states that an employee is not allowed to leave the work premises for lunch?

There is no federal law that requires employers to provide employees with rest breaks or meal periods. Additionally, there is no law that either requires or prohibits employers from requiring employees to remain at the worksite during lunch periods.

Some states have adopted rest break and meal period requirements. Thus, it’s important to know if applicable state legislation exists. I’m not aware of any state that prohibits employees from leaving their place of business during a meal period. However, this doesn’t mean that an employer is not permitted to adopt such a policy.

Many employers require employers to remain on the premises during their meal periods to ensure business operations continue to run smoothly throughout the workday. This is a common requirement of nurses and maintenance workers.
Employers must consider the wage and hour implications of having a policy that requires employees to remain at the worksite.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes guidelines for compensable work time.

Under the FLSA, short breaks lasting less than twenty minutes in duration must be compensated.

Meal periods typically lasting thirty minutes serve a different purpose than short breaks and are not time required to be compensated. However, employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during meal periods. If an employee does any work during his meal period the time must be compensated. Furthermore, if the employee is on-call during his meal period and receives so many calls he cannot use the time effectively for his own personal purposes, the employee is considered to be working while on-call and the time must be compensated.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015 at 8:32 pm and is filed under
Labor Laws.
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