State of Virginia Lunch and Break Law

Recently, I’ve been researching state laws on the topic of lunches, breaks and other work hour issues. I have learned that Virginia is one of many states that only have a lunch and break law for minors. Virginia law requires that all employees under 16 years of age must be given an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes if they have worked five hours or more continuously.

Although Virginia does not have a lunch and break law for those persons 16 and over, there are several federal rules that apply to Virginia employers and employees. While federal law does not require specific breaks or meal periods, it does contain instructions as to whether or not these should be paid breaks if an employer offers them.

Short rest breaks are most often 20 minutes or less, and should be counted as paid working time. True “meal periods” are usually 30 minutes or more, and do not need to be compensated as work time if an employee is completely relieved of his or her duties. If the employee is still required to do some of his or her duties, it must be a paid meal period.

I find that many people are also interested in the federal laws related to waiting, sleeping and traveling. Whether or not waiting time needs to be considered paid work hours depends on the situation. If an employee is allowed to do something of his or her choosing while waiting for another task to be finished or while waiting at the workplace for his or her services to be called upon, it is generally considered paid working time. On the other hand, if an employee is waiting to be called upon, but has great freedom to do what he or she wishes while on call (and has plenty of time to respond to the call), it is not generally considered paid work time.

When it comes to sleeping time, federal law mandates that an employee required to be on duty less than 24 hours is considered to be “working” even if he or she is permitted to sleep during some of those hours when not busy. The situation is different for an employee on duty more than 24 hours. For these employees, a sleeping period of no more than eight hours may be deducted from their work hours. However, this can only be done sleeping quarters are provided and at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep may be achieved by the employees.

A final issue I’ll cover in this blog entry is travel time. In general, the time spent in the normal day’s commute to and from work is not considered paid working time. However, if an employee is traveling in the course of his or her work, it must be paid as work time.

Further information on laws related to lunches, breaks and other pertinent labor issues can be found on the Virginia Complete Labor Law Poster.

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46 Thoughts on “State of Virginia Lunch and Break Law”

Andrew

June 2, 2008 at 11:20 am

I’m a full-time work study student at Radford University’s financial aid department. I work everyday from 8-5 with an hour for lunch. Recently, I started working through lunch so I could leave a 4, and my employers soon informed me that I could not do this due to labor laws. Is this true?

Amelia

June 2, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Andrew — Technically, there is no Virginia or federal law that you must take a break. However, the employer has the right to set such a policy, and to discipline or even terminate any employee who does not follow it. For a more detailed answer, post your question on our sister site, http://www.laborlawtalk.com. Thanks for reading out blog! Amelia

Tommy

September 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm

In VA, is there a different regulation for breaks when working in direct care/health care?

Amelia

September 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Hi Tommy! No, Virginia law does not require breaks, regardless of the industry. Some employees may be entitled to breaks under a union contract. HTH, and you can always post any additional questions on our sister site at http://www.laborlawtalk.com for a more detailed question. Thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Toni

November 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

I work 6 hours per day, 4 days a week. I do not take a lunch break. I eat a small snack at my desk but I do not stop working. I take one 15 minute smoke break per day. My employer is docking the 15 minute breaks from my pay. Can they do that?

Amelia

November 11, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Hi Toni! No, the employer probably cannot do this. Under federal law, employees must be paid for any breaks shorter than 20 minutes. So you should be paid for your 15-minute smoke break. (Employers are not under any obligation to give workers smoke breaks, or any rest breaks for that matter, in Virginia. But if they do, the breaks must be unpaid.)

Virginia employers are not required by law to give workers meal breaks. When they do, a meal break of more than 20 minutes can be unpaid, if the employee is relieved of duties during the break.

A Virginia employer can certainly establish a policy that all employees must take an unpaid meal break of 20 minutes or more. The employer can even discipline or fire employees who do not follow that policy. But breaks of less than 20 minutes must be paid.

For more insight, you can post your question on our sister site at http://www.laborlawtalk.com. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Scarlotte

December 1, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Once a schedule is posted can it be changed at anytime? When I returned from a day off the hours that I was working on another day were changed and no one even asked me.

Amelia

December 2, 2008 at 10:03 am

Hi Scarlotte! Yes, the employer can change the schedule at any time. A good manager will call and ask you, or tell you, that your schedule has been changed. But business needs change, and the employer must be able to respond to those changes. You can also post questions on our sister site at http://www.laborlawtalk.com. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Isaac

March 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm

i work in @ a coal mines with 12+ hours a day could you tell me the amount of time im supposed to get a lunch break for and any other breaks also. thanks

Amelia

March 30, 2009 at 3:37 pm

Hi Iaac! There is no break laws for employees in general industry in Virginia. However, MSHA, which oversees worker safety in mines, has requirements. Contact MSHA at msha.gov for more specifics. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

dee

April 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

i work for a doctors office. the dr. has 3 seperate practices (adult practice and 2 seperate enities- childrens practice (childrens world and super smiles) ) i was hired to work one of the childrens practices but i am asked to help out and give hours to the second childrens practice. am i obliated to work it and can i b fired if i refuse to work the practice that i wasnt hired for?

Amelia

April 3, 2009 at 9:46 am

Hi Dee! Yes, the doctor can require you to work both practices and can terminate you if you do not. Generally, the employer determines what the work duties or job descriptions are, and can change them at will. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Lisa

April 29, 2009 at 5:20 am

Where would one find the actual written law/code about breaks and lunches in VA? Thanks!

Amelia

April 29, 2009 at 11:28 am

Hi Lisa! As noted, Virginia has no meal or rest break law for employees over the age of 16. A handy guide is at: http://www.doli.virginia.gov/laborlaw/laborlaw_faqs.html More info on Virginia Child Labor laws is at: http://www.doli.virginia.gov/laborlaw/laborlaw_faqs_childlaborlawp1.html The actual statutes include Virginia Statute 40.1-78 and 40.1 -100 beginning here: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+40.1-78 HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

don

May 22, 2009 at 3:09 pm

I sell cars and I am commission only working in Virginia. are we intitled a lunch break and are there any laws about being paid if we dont sell anything

Amelia

May 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

Hi don! There is no law in Virginia that requires employer to give lunch breaks to adult workers. It is possible that you are covered by the Virginia minimum wage law, which would require the employer to pay you at least the state minimum wage for each hour worked. Contact the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry at http://www.doli.virginia.gov for more info. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

john glover

June 12, 2009 at 8:50 am

I’ve been called for jury duty selection in Westmoreland Country – VA – and its my understanding that they don’t give you a lunch break – you are required to be there as long as they want that day – without a lunch break – is that legal – thanks – john

Amelia

June 12, 2009 at 10:14 am

Hi john! We are not privy to the inner workings of the Westmoreland County, Virginia Court system. But in every court we are familiar with, the judges and attornies take a lunch break. Even during the middle of a trial, they will adjourn for lunch and return in an hour or so. Jurors are also given an opportunity to eat at the same time, although they are not usually permitted to leave the building. It might be wise to bring a sack lunch.
Since the court is not employing the jurors, any lunch or break law would not apply. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Amelia

Bob smith

July 22, 2009 at 9:19 pm

“Virginia has no meal or rest break law for employees over the age of 16″

TYRANNY

1.arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; despotic abuse of authority.
2.the government or rule of a tyrant or absolute ruler.
3.a state ruled by a tyrant or absolute ruler.
4.oppressive or unjustly severe government on the part of any ruler.
5.undue severity or harshness.
6.a tyrannical act or proceeding.

You might ask who is the absolute ruler the corporate masters who own this government.
The government stopped being controlled by the people who created it to protect them years ago. It is now totally in under the control of big business in time many more will cry Tyranny and spill the blood of these tyrants and correct this kind of abuse of power. Rebellion has been along time coming.

My advice to anyone who has an employer that doesn’t give its employees breaks in va, Just give them the finger and quit even say good luck finding some bum off the street you asshat I hope they steal everything in here. Trust me there are lots of good companies that don’t treat their employees like slaves.

Amelia

July 22, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Hi Bob! Suprisingly enough, we agree with you that the corporations have had a disproportionate influence on the US government, partly through lobbyists. The best way to make your voice heard is by contacting your state and federal representatives in the legislature, voting, and becomming more active in politics. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

dustin

December 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm

as a young American i did not relize how serious this situation was ,it was not untill i became unemployed that i found out just how bad it is …

i have been in an appeal prossess for over 6 months now ,witch drug out through thanksgiving and will go far past Christmas .now the v.e.c clearly states that you are allowed provide a lawyer yet they do not provide you one.
they actually except you to be able to afford one … but with 208$ max. a week how can you afford a lawyer’s 1500$ fee, its impossible for an unemployed person to gain a lawyer.there for no attorneys should be allowed in order to have a “fair” trial.witch we as Americans deserve ..
also the V.E.C is allowing my former employer to now change there story
they previously stated that i quit in a previous hearing and on v.e.c. paperwork… it was the opinion of the deputy that i did not quit
now in the second appeal they are now trying to argue that i was fired for misconduct what i wanna know is how the F- are they now allowed to change there story when there first lie didnt work for them.. i would also like to know why they are not being charged with a crime for knowingly submitting false information to the v.e.c. and what the laws are conserning this situation ..i have done lots a research and have still yet to find laws and regulations surrounding the issue.the fact remains that by now saying that i was fired for misconduct they are admitting that they provided false information to the v.e.c. during the first hearing with

i believe that the right to work does not mean what it says but in fact means the employer can treat his employee’s as he wishes can fire you with out reason and then they are also permitted to lie,steal and cheat you out of what you out of what you deserve with out repercussion…

Dustin

Amelia

December 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Hi dustin! You raise a couple of important points. Usually lawyers are not necessary at an unemployment appeal, but some companies (or employees) do use them. If you feel you need representation, contact the Legal Aid Society in the nearest big city. They provide free or low-cost representation for a variety of issues.
Many workers win unemployment appeals, even without lawyers. If you were fired for intentional misconduct, you may lose the appeal. However, if you were fired for reasons beyond your control (like a salesperson not making enough sales in a bad economy), then you will probably win. By the same token, if you were fired for unintentional misconduct, you may win. For example, the employer might have a policy that tee shirts are not allowed at work. If you were not aware of the policy, then you would win the appeal. If the employer can produce documentation that they wrote you up 3 times for wearing a tee shirt, they would win.
Statements during the appeal hearing are made under oath, which means that if the employer can be shown to have intentionally lied, they could be charged with perjury. However, unemployment forms are not completed under oath, which means that if the employer made a “mistake” on the form, they have the right to change it later. Whether or not they were mistaken on the first form is irrelevant, if they can show that you were fired for intentional misconduct.
Many people misunderstand the “right to work” concept. It merely means that you cannot be required to join a labor union, in order to get a job. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

dustin

December 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm

they did in fact state in the state in the initial hearing that i walked off the job and voluntarily quit..so i am sure i can prove that they are guilty of perjury .so i should will right? also will it effect their ability to file another appeal . it has came to my attention that they can appeal two more times after this before it goes to actual court

Amelia

December 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Hi dustin! No, you will not necessarily win if the employer committed perjury. What’s the old saying…two wrongs don’t make a right? The employer can be fined or punished for perjury — lying under oath — during the first hearing. But if they can show that you were fired for intentional misconduct, then they would still win this appeal. The perjury is a separate issue. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Frances

December 31, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I worked for a large bank in Virginia. I was a full time 40 hour a week employee. Last week, 12-23 I worked 10 hours straight, as not allowed to have a lunch, bathroom or any other kind of break. When I voiced my disagreement with this situation and told my employer I was going to file a report with the labor bureau, I as terminated at the end of the next day, hich was Christmas Eve. Do I have any legal recourse in this situation?

Amelia

December 31, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Hi Frances! Yes, you have legal recourse.

Nineteen U.S. states have laws that require meal breaks or rest breaks for employees. Virginia is not one of them. Nor is there any federal law that bank employees must be given a meal or rest break, regardless of the length of the shift. However, federal worker safety standards require that employees be permitted to use the toilet when nature calls. Although the Virginia worker safety standards are slightly different, they should still permit bathroom breaks. You should file a VOSH complaint at the link below.

In Virginia, as elsewhere, employers also cannot retaliate against an employee who complains of the employer’s illegal behavior — in this case, not giving you a bathroom break. So the termination may be illegal retaliation. (It gets a little murky because you were also complaining about other working conditions that were, in fact, legal. It is also possible that the employer will claim that they terminated you due to the way you handled the complaints, such as shouting or being disruptive.) You may want to see an attorney about filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Candy

February 18, 2010 at 9:24 am

Hello Amelia,

I perform a security-based “observe and report” job for a large subcontractor on a Federal worksite in central Virginia. (My company’s home office and management is a 2 hour drive away, so we are largely unsupervised by the company.) My coworkers and I are employed specifically to watch other workers and work processes (anti-espionage / anti-terrorism) and create written records of observations. Over the last year, my company’s employees on this site have gone from 11 (including our Lead or manager) down to 6 due to attrition; it is a difficult job to staff due to required qualifications.

Our Lead is a nice guy but inexperienced as a manager. He has, since hired 11 months ago, created a workplace where some employees are allowed — on company time — to sleep on a daily basis, to sit for hours using a personal net book to access chat sites and arrange dates, to show naked pictures of themselves to the workers of other companies who we are supposed to observe, and to sit in a off-site area doing the boss’s work instead of the job assigned by the contract (but against company’s policy and knowledge), to literally be on cell phones in loud conversations for hours or play video games, and so on. I wish I were kidding. These are factual situations that everyone in the building (perhaps 2000 people at different times) are aware of and comment upon routinely.

There are 3 of us who like our jobs, feel it is important work, and have been conscientious. It is widely known and openly acknowledged by all at this site who of us performs and who doesn’t.

Over the months, my Lead has made statements that I should not contact his supervisor (angry even when the supervisor contacted me), has ignored my attempt to report sexual harassment by another worker, and made several inappropriate comments. He lied to me directly about work issues, and told a favored worker I was “not returning to the job” allowing a rumor of my quitting / firing to circulate which his supervisor had to personally investigate (a week ago).

Because several of these issues are now beginning to haunt my Lead, he has suddenly decided to enforce standards. But his enforcement is still selective. One favored employee actually screamed at the non-favored “there will be retribution” while on a cell phone conversation with the Lead a few days ago; this was witnessed by several other workers.

My Lead has informed me that he will “counsel” me — officially write me up — in 2 days for violation of the cell phone policy and the sitting policy (we are to stand and walk for our entire 10 hour shift). I absolutely did not violate either policy, which he knows because of frequent observation. I can only conclude that my Lead is resorting to lies to retaliate against perceived threats against him now that management is becoming aware of the situation.

I have kept contemporaneous notes about most of these situations (dates, locations, quotes, witnesses).

I do not want to complain to witnesses but this situation is now intolerable.

I like this job, I need this job, I only want to do this job and not be harassed or threatened.

Any suggestions are very welcome. Thank you very much for this blog.
Candy

Amelia

February 18, 2010 at 10:42 am

Hi Candy! This is a mess, and it may not be possible to salvage your job — but you should try. The Lead is trying to force you to quit. You should resist.

You would actually have been in a better situation if you had reported the Lead to his manager (or higher ups) when he was allowing employees to play video games all day and show naked photos of themselves to the people they are supposed to be monitoring. By not reporting an issue this severe, you became part of the problem, tacitly condoning it.

But you can still make an effort to salvage this situation. It is good that you have notes regarding the dates and locations of events with witnesses.

It sounds as if the Lead’s supervisor got wind of the misconduct, and took steps to straighten it out. Unfortunately, this probably makes the Lead’s past conduct irrelevant. From their point of view, the Lead had a performance problem, they addressed the problem and now it has improved.

The Lead’s current behavior is favoritism. Unfortunately, workplace favoritism is legal unless it is based on race, color, sex, religion, national ancestry, etc. Some companies have policies against favoritism, but not all do.

The Lead intends to get revenge on you for imagined slights by writing you up. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for you to prove that you never sat down or used the phone. You could have done it at a time when no one but the Lead was around to see you. So you can try to fight these written warnings, but it will be hard. The Lead is looking for a pretext to fire you, and he may very well succeed.

The one loophole we see is that you reported sexual harassment to the Lead, and he failed to take action. This is a liability situation for the company, and they will probably take this seriously. (If the “inappropriate” remarks were also about sex, so much the better.) If the company has an HR department, you should contact them with a complaint about the past sexual harassment, and the fact that you reported it to your supervisor but it was never addressed. At this point, you may as well be honest about the video games, etc. as the reason why the Lead is now retaliating against you. However, the issue of why you did not report this earlier will obviously come up.

Even if the company does not take action on the sexual harassment claim, it will raise your profile and hopefully HR will discourage the Lead from taking unwarranted disciplinary actions against you.

You can also file a sexual harassment claim with the EEOC (or similar agency, if you are a federal employee). You should also report the video gaming, chat, etc. to the federal agency for which your company fulfills contracts. Here’s why: employees who report such behavior cannot be fired for trumped-up reasons, or targeted for retaliation. They are protected as “whistleblowers” under federal law.

Because you like your job so much, you may want to consult an attorney who has experience with wrongful termination cases. If the Lead succeeds in firing you, you will have need of the attorney’s services. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Ed

July 1, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I work in healthcare in Virginia. We work 12 hour shifts, often without ANY set break. We were recently told after numerous complaints to management that they did not have to allow employees to have breaks. When people were caught eating at their work stations, we were told we would be disciplined. Is there any law protecting us? These are not isolated incidents, but happen rather repeatedly.

Amelia

July 2, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hi Ed! We agree that it is totally insane to expect an employee to work for 12 hours without eating. Unfortunately, it is also legal in Virginia. Nineteen U.S. states require employers to give meal breaks to workers — but Virginia is not one of them. If a Virginia employer wanted, he or she could require employees to work a 24-hour shift every day without eating, or without a meal break.

The employer can also legally discipline or terminate an employee who is caught eating on duty.

The only thing we will say here is: This is exactly the type of situation that is ripe for union organization. The employer is acting 100% within the law here, and it is totally unfair. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

carl

July 7, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Is there any laws against how many hours an employer can make you work in a day or week.

Amelia

July 7, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Hi carl! There is no law in Virginia that limits the number of hours that an employee can be required to work each week, as long as the employer pays any overtime earned. Very few states have such a law. One state that does have such a law limits overtime to 40 hours per week, meaning 80 hours total. Sorry, wish we could be more helpful. Thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Antonio

July 11, 2010 at 11:50 pm

If I am a part time worker working full time hours, with no full time benefits am I allowed to deny to work full time and ask for my part time….

Amelia

July 12, 2010 at 8:52 am

Hi Antonio! You can ask for anything, however, if the employer schedules you to work and you refuse, then you can be terminated. In most cases, you would not qualify for unemployment at that point, either.

If this is the first week you have been required to work full time, you can quit and be eligible for unemployment because the employer is changing your work hours from part time to full time. However, once you have agreed to work full time for one week, you have accepted the new working conditions. If you quit after that, you will not qualify for unemployment.

Most employers have a system in place where an employee who works full time for 3 months or more qualifies for full time benefits. If the employer is giving benefits to other employees, but not to you (and you work the same number of hours) then this may be illegal discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, etc. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Amanda

September 8, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Is it legal for a private company not to provide a bunk room for employees who work 24 hr shifts,

Amelia

September 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

Hi Amanda! As far as we can determine, there is no federal or state law that requires an employer to provide a bunk house or other accommodations for employees, regardless of the length of the shift. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

October 2, 2010 at 7:09 am

hi i work for an ageny that takes care of (MR)+(MH) individuals and we were told this week that we not only have to work 12 hrs a day without breaks but we also have to show up 15 min early (non paid) at the begining of our shifts and not doing so would get us written up or even fired also we were told if we did stop work to have a drink or smoke ect. that would make up for the 15 min early however if we worked non stop 12 hrs and 15 min they would pay the 15 min but we had to show prof that we didnt go to the bathroom ect. for the entire day can they do this ?

Amelia

October 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Hi William! No, they cannot do this if they are covered by the federal minimum wage law. Both the federal minimum wage law (the FLSA) and the Virginia minimum wage law require that an employee be paid for all time he or she works. If the employer requires that you be on the premises 15 minutes before your shift, legally, that must be paid work time.

In addition, the federal minimum wage law requires that employees be paid for any break that is shorter than 20 minutes. This applies to smoke breaks (if the employer permits them), rest or meal breaks and bathroom breaks. Our suggestion is that you file a wage complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor at http://www.dol.gov. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

January 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Hi, I work from 9am to 5:30pm. I have been taking my lunch breaks around 3:25 to 3:55 so I can pick my kids up from school and drop them off at home. My employer said that got to stop because company lunch break is from 12pm to 2pm.
My question is can the do that? Isn’t my lunch break is my personal time?

Please advise.

Thank You,
Tina

Amelia

January 4, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Hi Tina! Sorry, but you boss is right on this one. There is no Virginia law that an employer must give an employee a meal break. If the employer does give a meal break, the employer establishes the policies surrounding it. The employer can dictate what time you take your lunch break, and even require that you remain on the premises during that lunch break. It is reasonable for the employer to require workers to take a lunch break between 12 noon and 2 pm. You can try discussing this with your employer, but he is not under any obligation to accommodate your childcare needs. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

Alex

April 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Hi Amelia, my boss recently told us that we are no longer allowed to eat during our shifts. I work in a pool so my food can’t be at my work station, and I would generally take 2-3 minutes to grab a snack and get back in. My question is, can my boss do that, and if so, is there anyway around it? I know va is a right to work state, it’s just rather obnoxious when I work a 5 hour shift on an empty stomach.

Amelia

April 5, 2011 at 7:02 am

Hi Alex! We agree that these are poor working conditions but unfortunately, they are legal in Virginia. The state has no meal break law. An employee can be required to work 12 hours or more without food in Virginia. The state is not alone. Only nineteen U.S. states have laws requiring meal breaks for workers, and only about 6 require rest breaks on shorter shifts like yours. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~Amelia

Angela

April 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I work for a health care company as a field nurse. I recently discovered that myself and peers are having a 30 minute break deducted from our pay daily. We were not informed of this decision. Our company policy states that we are entitled to a 30 minute lunch break. Unfortunately, most days our schedules do not allow this and we eat at stop lights or while driving to our next patient. Can an employer legally make this deduction when they have been informed that you are not taking your lunch break? I work in Virginia. Thank you for your reply.

Amelia

April 12, 2011 at 7:07 am

Hi Angela! No, the employer cannot legally make this deduction. Under both federal and Virginia minimum wage laws, an hourly employee must be paid for all the time she works. It is the employer’s responsibility to accurately track the number of hours the employee works, and pay her for them. An employer cannot automatically deduct a break from an employee’s wages when the employee does not take a break. You and your coworkers are entitled to back wage for the past 2-3 years, for the meal breaks. If that puts you over 40 hours, you are entitled to overtime as well.

You should file a wage complaint with the Virginia Department of Labor at http://www.doli.virginia.gov/laborlaw/laborlaw_forms_p1.html. They will investigate, and if you are owed wages, force the employer to pay you. It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who files a formal complaint with a state or federal agency.

There is another issue you should be aware of. You are reading the company policy to say that an employee MAY take a 30-minute unpaid break. The employer is probably reading it to say that employees MUST take a 30-minute unpaid break. If you file a wage complaint, you can expect the company to start enforcing that policy. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

June 19, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I personally think that not having a law to address the needs of an employee parttime or full time is absolutly ludicroise.workers should be allowed to take a break of at least 20 min. after working 4 hrs or more.Why aren’t the law makers in Virginia jumping on this oppertunity .Why as a people are we not standing up and saying we have had enough unfair treatment under the rules of a dictatourship!!!!!!!!

Amelia

June 20, 2014 at 7:39 am

Voters in some states agree with you Judy, and have elected representatives who passed break laws for all employees. However, in other states like Virginia, lawmakers have decided this is a private matter between employer and worker.

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