Sometimes an employee might not be aware of their state's laws in regards to when they can take a break at work. Other times, a job might try to exploit their employees by doing what they can to get around these rules. It's important to be aware of the NY State Laws so you can take all your rightful meal and rest breaks.
Many employees are provided with a rest or lunch break. This may be unpaid or paid. This is common practice at most businesses. The federal wage and hour law does not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks during the work day. Many employers do provide these breaks though as a matter of custom and policy. In New York, employers are required to provide a meal break, but no rest breaks.
Federal Law required employers to pay for hours worked. This includes certain time that an employer may designate as "breaks", according to NOLO. If a receptionist must answer the phones or wait for deliveries during lunch, then this individual must be paid for their lunch at their desk. This is the same way that an individual would get paid while driving to get a bite to eat in between going from one job to the next.
A meal break is usually 20 minutes. Shorter breaks may qualify, but it depends on the circumstances. This may be a factor that comes into play if the employer allows breaks.
In New York, the length of the meal required depends on the industry and shift.
Factory employees are entitled to a one-hour break between 11 am and 2 pm. Mercantile employees covered by NY's labor laws are entitled to a 30 minute break from 11 am - 2 pm. If the employee's shift starts before 11 am and ends after 7 pm, the employee is entitled to another 20 minute break between 5 pm and 7 pm. If the employee works a shift of more than 6 hours that starts between 1 pm - 6 am, then they are entitled to a meal break in the middle of the shift. Factory employees get a 1 hour break. Other employees get a 45 minute break.