Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
HelloThis is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.Under NJ law, there is no mandatory break law for private sector employers with an exception for minors under the age of 18 and they must be given a thirty (30) minute meal period after five (5) consecutive hours of work. Company policy dictates break and lunch periods for anyone over the age of 18.
However, under federal law, employers must pay for hours worked, even if the employer has designated that time as a “break.” For example, if an employee has to work through a meal, that time must be paid. Also, Federal law also requires employers to pay for short breaks an employee is allowed to take during the day. Breaks lasting from five to 20 minutes are considered part of the workday, for which employees must be paid.In other words, employers do not need to allow breaks. If they do and they are longer than 20 minutes, they do not need to be paid. If they are 5 to 20 minutes, that is considered work time and wages must be paid.There are no laws that dictate what shift gets breaks and which one does not. That is left up to the employers policy.In your situation, where you are a state employee a union contract is going to govern. And if the union has bargained for paid lunch breaks, then that needs to be applied. If the union did not bargain for third shift to have paid breaks, than that is something you want to bring to your union rep.If you are not part of a Union, then any policy regarding breaks and being paid will need to be applied equally to all employees regardless of the shift they are working.I hope this helps to clarify your situation. However, Please let me know here if you have other questions or need clarification in this regard. Otherwise your positive rating here will ensure I get credit for my time and information.