In researching current lunch and break laws in various states, I learned that Connecticut is one of 19 states that has a specific regulation in this area. If a Connecticut employee has worked at least seven and a half hours consecutively in a given day, he or she must be given a 30 minute unpaid break. The state law also states that this break should be at least two hours after the employee arrives at work, and at least two hours before the end of the work day. This meal break must allow the worker to be completely relieved of his or her duties.
I found it interesting that there are several exceptions to this general rule. The law does not apply to teachers or other professional employees that work directly with children in a school district setting. It also doesn’t apply in workplaces where a collective bargaining agreement sets out other arrangements. Exemptions may be granted in situations where public safety would be affected, where only one employee can do the job, where the nature of the business requires that employees be ready to respond at all times, or where five or fewer employees are on a shift at one time at a place of business. If an exemption is granted, employees may be given a paid, on-duty meal time.
Connecticut law does not specifically provide for any other breaks during the workday other than this 30 minute unpaid meal period. However, if employers do wish to give short breaks to workers during the day, Federal law states that these must be paid breaks if they are 20 minutes or less in length.
A complete presentation of federal and state laws related to lunches and breaks, as well as all other labor issues, can be found on the Connecticut Complete Labor Law Poster.