Is It Illegal for Massachusetts Employees to Skip Their Lunch Breaks?
One thing that many people including myself look forward to each day is lunch. Working in radio in the Berkshires, particularly a morning shift, I don't usually take a lunch break as I just wait to go to my home in Pittsfield and eat there. That routine works for me. However, even though it's not technically lunch, I do take a break during the morning hours to grab a snack and refresh.
Most, if not all people know that you are entitled to a lunch break while at work. As a matter of fact, it's Massachusetts law that workers have a right to at least a 30-minute meal break for each six hours worked in a calendar day. This is according to mass.gov. During this meal break workers are supposed to surrender all job duties and they can even leave the job site to take their lunch. It's basically free time for the employee. In some companies, the meal break is unpaid.
What is the Penalty to the Massachusetts Employer if They Don't Grant The Time for Meal Breaks to Their Employees?
According to a few internet sources, an employer can be fined $300-$600 for denying employees their meal breaks.
Is It Illegal in Massachusetts for an Employee to Skip Their Meal Break and Work Through That Time?
According to mass.gov, Massachusetts employees can work through their meal times but they must have an agreement with their employer to do this. If both parties agree and it's a go, the employee will be paid.
My thought is why not take the meal break? It's a great way to relax, refresh and tackle the remainder of your workday when your break concludes.
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