The Maryland Healthy Retail Employee Act is the state’s first law requiring meal and rest breaks for workers in certain occupations. The law went into effect on March 1, 2011 and covers retail stores with 50 or more workers. It does not cover restaurants or wholesale dealers. The law also excludes mail-order or Internet sales businesses when more than 50% of sales occur without the customer physically present in the store.
The law also requires shorter 15-minute breaks under some conditions. A Maryland retail employee who works a shift of 4 to 6 hours is entitled to a non-working break of at least 15 minutes, but is not entitled to a 30-minute break.
An employee who works 8 or more hours must be given the 30-minute break plus a non-working break of 15 minutes for every four additional consecutive hours. For example, an employee who works 16 consecutive hours must be given the 30-minute break, plus two 15-minute non-working breaks.
Under the federal FLSA, employees are entitled to payment for any break that is less than 20 minutes, so the 15-minute breaks must be paid.
Corporate employees or office employees who do not work on the sales floor are not included in the total number of employees. A company that had 49 sales clerks and one office manager would not be covered by the law. However, stores that have several locations must count all the employees in the state to determine if they have 50 retail employees.
The new break law is enforced by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation or DLLR, with fines starting at $300 per employee.
There are two exceptions under the new Maryland break law: (more…)
One suit involved a Minnesota chicken processor, Gold’n Plump Poultry, Inc. According to the company website, Gold’n Plump was founded in 1926 by E.M. Helgeson. “Today, the company is run by his grandson and a family that includes about 1,500 people and more than 250 family farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin—all who share the founder’s passion for quality.”
The other suit involved an employment agency that supplied workers for Gold’n Plump, The Work Connection.
Under the decree approved in the Gold’n Plump case, the employer will have to provide an additional paid break during the second half of each shift to accommodate the religious beliefs of Muslim employees who wish to pray during the workday. The exact timing of the break will vary during the year to coordinate with the timing for Muslim prayers. The new break time will apply to all employees (more…)
Tipped Oregon food service workers over the age of 18 may opt out of their required 30-minute meal breaks if they like. The employee must complete a waiver form, available in English or Spanish from the BOLI website.
Employers cannot require an employee to waive breaks, or coerce employees to do so under the new regulations. Either the employer or the employee can revoke the waiver at any time by written notice.
However, if the employer has a signed, non-revoked waiver on file, the employee (more…)
Under the Oregon meal break law, employers must provide a meal break of 30 minutes or more to any employee who works more than 6 hours. Employees who work less than 6 hours are not entitled to a meal break.