Lunch Breaks

Massachusetts workers are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break for each six-hour period worked but can be granted additional breaks at an employer's discretion.  While an employee can voluntarily waive a lunch break or other breaks, an employer cannot coerce the employee to do so.

If an employee is required to work through his lunch break or if the employee's movement is restricted during the lunch break (i.e. the employer is not free to leave the premises), Massachusetts and federal law require that the employer compensate the employee for this time.  An employee who works through a break must be paid his or her normal hourly wage (or overtime if appropriate) for the time spent working.

Lunch and other breaks frequently go uncompensated because employers adopt policies that automatically deduct breaks from an employee's wages, without checking whether or not the employee actually took the break.  These policies routinely deprive workers of wages to which they are entitled.  If you have worked through breaks without being compensated, call our office or fill out the form on the right.  It is important to speak with an attorney about your legal rights because those rights may vanish over time.