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Gimme a Break! Connecticut Laws About Breaks and Lunch Breaks

Hungry for some straight talk about meal periods and rest breaks?  A.R. Mazzotta is happy to serve it up.

In Connecticut, meal periods are covered by Connecticut General Statutes, Title 31, Chapter 557, Section 31-51ii.  Here is a summary of the law:

  • No person shall be required to work for seven and one-half or more consecutive hours without a period of at least 30 consecutive minutes for a meal.
  • The break must come after the first two hours and before the last two hours of work.

The law comes with several exceptions:

  • Teachers are not covered.
  • As an employer, you can create a written agreement with an employee for a different break schedule.
  • You can be exempted by the Labor Commissioner if:
    • requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety;
    • the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee;
    • you employ less than five employees on a shift, at a single place of business (the exemption applies only to that particular shift); or
    • the continuous nature of your operations (e.g., chemical production or research experiments) requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for meal periods.

So what about rest breaks?

According to the Department of Labor, Connecticut does not require employers to provide rest breaks.

And temporary workers?

When an A.R. Mazzotta temporary employee works for you, the same break rules apply.  If our workers are on assignment with you for seven and one-half hours or more, you must give them a 30 minute meal break after the first two hours and before the last two hours of work.

What do federal break laws say?

If you offer short breaks (about 5 to 20 minutes) to employees, federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours.  This time should be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked.  Because they are short breaks, you have to pay employees for this time.

Make sure you take a few minutes to digest the above information.  Meal breaks are an often overlooked area of compliance for employers, and double-checking your company policies now can help prevent problems down the road.

Give your employees a break with A.R. Mazzotta

As a leading staffing service in Connecticut, A.R. Mazzotta provides exceptional temporary and contract workers to alleviate overtime and the burnout it causes your direct staff.  So when things get busy, give your employees a break!  Contact us today to learn about our temporary staffing services for CT employers.