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Need your help - Meal breaks

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  • Need your help - Meal breaks

    How many of you have paid meal breaks? If you do can you tell me how you get around the different labor laws that require 30 min breaks after x amount of hours?

    The legality of our paid meal breaks is being questioned and i'm curious as to if it is really not legal or if perhaps there are good ways to get around it.

    having to take a 30 min unpaid break would either mean smaller paychecks or 10.5 hours shifts instead of 10.

  • #2
    For all technical purposes I get a paid break... whenever there is nothing going on, and if someone calls while I'm eating, my lunch waits. There have been days I didn't get a chance to eat.
    "What if this is as good as it gets?" ~ Melvin Udall

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    • #3
      Why would paid meal breaks be illegal? I'm quessing you are eating on the clock, at your post?
      Booth

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      • #4
        Meal Breaks

        The 30 min. lunch period at the security companies where I have worked was paid because we were required to remain at our posts. Whether one actually gets to eat is based on workload. 99% of the time, it slows down sooner or later.
        Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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        • #5
          We had no "meal break" at my employer. You ate when duties dictated. That usually meant whenever you wanted to. An unpaid meal break requires someone to man the shift for... 30 minutes.
          Some Kind of Commando Leader

          "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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          • #6
            So the issue isn't meal breaks, it is getting relieved for half an hour, or more precisely getting half an hour where no work is required?
            Booth

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mike booth
              So the issue isn't meal breaks, it is getting relieved for half an hour, or more precisely getting half an hour where no work is required?
              That's my understanding. If you are required to work, then you should be paid. The same was true when I worked in dispatch. I had to eat at the console and continue to take radio and telephone calls, so I was paid for 8 hours, the length of my shift.
              Security: Freedom from fear; danger; safe; a feeling of well-being. (Webster's)

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              • #8
                He he. On twelve hour shifts with "no break" we had a guy who insisted on a half hour to eat and two fifteen minute breaks, "it's the law". He was unavailable to answer calls during that time. We let him get away with it because we all prefered to eat meals and take coffee at our post than to start clocking out. He's gone.
                Booth

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                • #9
                  According to California labor law if you are "on-call" during your meal breaks, meaning that you are required to interrupt your meal to go and handle a call, then you must be paid for your meal break. If you do not have to interrupt your meal, then you are not required to be paid for the break.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by histfan71
                    According to California labor law if you are "on-call" during your meal breaks, meaning that you are required to interrupt your meal to go and handle a call, then you must be paid for your meal break. If you do not have to interrupt your meal, then you are not required to be paid for the break.
                    Same in Quebec.
                    I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                    Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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                    • #11
                      We also are on call the entire shift if working alone and are paid for the total hours. When more are working, you take turns having an unpaid lunch, and can leave the property.

                      As said, take you breaks between events, also take a look at your labour laws and will most likely find exceptions.
                      Quote me as saying I was mis-quoted.
                      Groucho Marx

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                      • #12
                        We run the same way. If more than three are on shift, you can leave property to get your lunch, but you have to take your radio with you, in the event we need to call you back. We do include by corporate standard, two 15min breaks as well.

                        My department policy allows for down time, if its 5 minutes or 40 minutes, its time you can spend eating, reading, getting paperwork caught up, as long as everything is covered.
                        Deputy Sheriff

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                        • #13
                          During the week we have a 30min unpaid lunch, but during weekends and holidays we have less people so we have a paid lunch. Also we are not aloud to leave the property at anytime for emergency reasons.
                          DizZy SO

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                          • #14
                            We have paid 20-minute meal periods for 8-hour shifts. I had a supervisor tell me that it's legal because we're an exempt profession. I did a little research and that's not true at all. Technically, we should recieve 2 15-minute paid breaks and a 30-minute unpaid meal period for our 8-hour shift. Of course I'm not going to bring it up, because I'd rather have a 20-minute paid break than a 30-minute unpaid one.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DizZy SO
                              During the week we have a 30min unpaid lunch, but during weekends and holidays we have less people so we have a paid lunch. Also we are not aloud to leave the property at anytime for emergency reasons.
                              You should check into that. You should be paid for that lunch if you're subject to recall. You probably have to listen to a radio or something for someone to call you back and listening to a radio is "working." If you're not getting paid, you're free to leave the site.

                              I had a job not too long ago where they forced me to take an hour unpaid lunch every night. They got a little irritated when I was the only one working and I locked the gatehouse, turned off my radio and took off for an hour in the middle of the night.

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