11. Lunch Breaks

Employers who offer employees lunch breaks of 45 minutes or less should be required to pay for this lunch time at the regular hourly rate. Lunch and break times should all be in addition to their daily working shift. However, if lunch breaks are over 45 minutes long, employers should not be required to pay for this time. Paying for employee lunchtimes would not necessarily increase the cost to employers (perhaps it would even decrease their costs by decreasing their accounting expenses). Employers could simply reduce the hourly rate paid to their employees by a small amount so that the employee would earn the same amount of money under either arrangement. For example, an employee making $10/hour with an unpaid half-hour lunch would be equivalent to an employee making $9.41/hour with a paid half-hour lunch.

Employers should be allowed to require employees to put in a full 8 hours of solid work each day, exclusive of lunch and break times. In other words, employees with a 30 minute lunch and two 15-minute breaks could be required to stay at their job for 9 hours (9 am-6 pm, for example). The 8 hours would constitute the solid work time, while the additional 60 minutes would be the cumulative total of lunch and break times.

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