Guide to New York Labor Laws About Breaks
If you are a worker in New York, you are covered by NY labor laws about breaks. In some circumstances, employers are required to provide employees with breaks of a particular length. This guide will explain some of the provisions of New York labor laws about breaks, so that you can understand whether your employer is in compliance. If you have more detailed questions about NY labor laws about breaks, you may want to consult with an attorney specializing in employment law, who can give you legal advice and in-depth information.
Most workers who are working a full-time shift are entitled to a meal break period at some point during their shift. Workers who work a shift that is at least 6 hours long and lasts between 11 AM and 2 PM are entitled by New York labor laws about breaks to a half hour unpaid meal break for lunch. Workers who start work before 11 AM and end after 7 PM are entitled not only to their lunch break, but an additional 20 minute meal break between 5 and 7 PM.
If you are an employee who works more than 6 hours starting any time between 1 PM and 6 AM, you are entitled to a mid-shift 45 minute unpaid meal break according to NY labor laws about breaks. Factory workers receive special treatment in New York labor laws about breaks—instead of the 45 minute break, they are entitled to a full hour. If you work a shift that is shorter than 6 hours, NY labor laws about breaks do not entitle you to any break time for meals.
It surprises many workers to know that New York labor laws about breaks do not require employers to provide any short rest or coffee breaks at any point during a worker's shift. However, if an employer does provide short breaks (less than 20 minutes) to employees, these breaks must be paid according to NY labor laws about breaks and federal labor laws. While there are no New York labor laws about breaks for bathroom needs, federal laws require that employees have reasonable access to bathroom facilities. If your employer is preventing you from taking reasonable bathroom breaks, you may want to consult with an employment attorney to discuss your options.
Sick and Vacation Leave
In many countries, federal laws mandate that employers provide employees with a certain amount of paid or unpaid vacation or sick leave. NY labor laws about breaks do not make any provision for sick or vacation leave whatsoever. No employer is required to give employees any leave of this type, unless the employee asks to use federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave.
Day of Rest Laws
employers in many industries are obligated by New York labor laws about breaks to give a full 24 hour day of rest period to all employees. This includes all factories and most blue collar jobs of all types.