Taking Meal Breaks Ensures Success in Business and at Work

In the state of New York, Section 162 of the NYS Labor Law requires that all employees – “blue collar, white collar and management” – take a minimum 30-minute meal period. This law states that “an employee who works a shift of more than six hours, which extends over the noonday meal period, is entitled to at least thirty minutes off within that period for the meal period.”

In the event of an employer audit, NYS DOL looks for several factors, including but not limited to:

  • Hourly nonexempt employees are consistently tracking their own time in and out for their meal periods;
  • All employees (especially hourly nonexempt employees) take their meal period away from their respective work stations; and
  • All employees take the required 30-minute minimum meal period.


NYS DOL tends to frown upon:

  • Employees who skip the 30-minute minimum meal period to leave work 30 minutes earlier;
  • Employers who allow, passively or actively, employees to skip the 30-minute meal period; and
  • Employers who auto-deduct the 30-minute minimum meal period, instead of requiring employees to record their own meal period in and out times.

DOL requirements aside, taking a minimum 30-minute meal break away from your work station and/or computer supports mental and physical health, as well as overall work focus, productivity and employee safety. And if you work inside like I do, a meal break outside is a welcome dose of nature.

How will you ensure that everyone takes their meal breaks to support the success of all in business and at work?

2014-07-22 05.43.37

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