Does New Jersey Labor Law require employers to provide you with a break or lunch break?

By Thomas McKinney

No. There is no law under New Jersey labor law or employment law that would require an employer to provide you with a break during the workday. Unless you were under the age of 18, there is no required break at work. However, numerous employers will provide employees with the benefit of a 15 minute break in the morning, a lunch break between 30 minutes and 1 hour and an additional 15 minute break in the afternoon. This is not required by law and is only a discretionary benefit offered the employer.

You may feel that it is unfair to have to work for this many hours (and we are by no means disagreeing with you), but the labor laws do not require a standard employee who is not a member of a union that has certain break requirements, from ever having a break.  Theoretically, an employer could require an employee to work 24 hours in the day without a break so long as the employee is compensated for the time, is paid overtime in the event that the employee works more than 40 hours in the work week.  New Jersey labor laws allow an employee to quit if they are unhappy with the working conditions.  New Jersey is an at-will employment state which means that you can quit for any or no reason.  However, you may not be entitled to overtime pay in the event that you quit your job without good case.  Therefore, the best option for employees who are employed for companies that are working them for too many hours or without breaks is to look for alternate employment that provides for a better work/life balance.   Most employers will allow for breaks as it helps employees to work more efficiently and also enjoy there job.

Contact our New Jersey labor law specialists at Castronovo & McKinney at 973-920-7888 or fill out our free case evaluation for immediate help.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.