Employment Paid Meal Breaks new jersey

Although New Jersey law affords many protections to workers, the law does not apply to all aspects of employment or its related benefits. One gray area is whether workers are entitled to paid meal breaks. The answer is generally no, but there are some exceptions.

While some states have implemented laws that require employers to provide paid meal breaks to employees, New Jersey has not. Employers do, however, have to pay employees for all time spent working. So if an employee is working longer hours in the absence of a meal break, they must be compensated for this time.

If an employee is provided with a bona fide meal break, where they do not have to perform any work, an employer is not required to pay for this break time under New Jersey law. There are two important exceptions to this rule. First, if the employee is a minor they must be provided with a lunch break of at least 30 minutes after they have completed five hours of work. Second, if an employment contract provides that a worker will be paid for any meal breaks, this is an enforceable right and the employee is entitled to payment.

Under federal law, if an employer chooses to provide breaks to employees throughout the day, some of the time spent on break must be compensated. If an employee works through a time that is typically used for a break, such as a lunch break, they must be compensated for this time. If an employee is required to stay at their work station during a meal break, they must also be compensated.

Where a meal break is less than a half hour, an employer might be required to pay for this break time under federal law. If you receive such a short meal break or you believe there are other circumstances that entitle you to a paid meal break, you may want to speak to a New Jersey employment attorney for guidance. There are nuances regarding state and federal laws and employment contracts that an experienced attorney can help to evaluate.

At Cashdan & Kane, PLLC, we counsel New Jersey workers in all aspects of employment law, including wage-and-hour and benefits disputes. If you have questions about your rights in the workplace, please call our Westfield office at 908-264-9331 or contact us online anytime.