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Thread: Paid Lunches?

  1. #1
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    Question Paid Lunches?

    I work for a full time, hospital based ambulance service. They have always been paid a 1/2 hr. for their lunch. So for example, I work 7-3. I get paid for 8 hrs. I get no lunch deduction. Recently they revoked our paid lunches. Is this legal since we are never technically off of duty? Everything I have found so far says you have to be fully off duty in order for them NOT to pay you for lunch. But in my mind, since I wear a pager, I'm never totally off of duty. (I already tried to say I would just turn off the pager during lunch) Didn't work so well. They didn't go for it. Anyway, any references for me? Can anyone tell me where to start looking? I feel this is wrong of them, however, if they can legally do this I will drop it. I just need some ammo, before I go in there guns blazin'.


  2. #2
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default In Cali-

    Hi there. I know that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) used to not pay their officers during lunch, but they were on-duty, in uniform.

    Then they said that "We are off duty then" And management said "Well, no. Ok then, we will just give you lunch pay".

    So now the Officers stay on-duty, eat lunch/dinner and get paid extra for it.

    Their website- www.chp.ca.gov

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    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    it would probably be more illegal if they paid you for lunch, because then the argument could be made that you were forced to work 8 hours without a break. with them not paying you, if the department of labor audited them, they could look at the payroll and say "see, here is the half hour lunch break that they took." otherwise they can get in trouble for not providing you with a legally mandated lunch break.
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    At my job (Not EMERGENCY Related) I must punch out my lunches. I am sometimes considered on call since im the only person with a key to certain things but otherwise am off. My personal belief is they should pay you for lunches if they are forcing you to remain onc all at a moments notice even during lunch and breaks.
    Mike
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    Use to run a hospital-based medic service and every 2 years the administration tried to do this. I finally called the labor board myself and they asked me 1 question.....do the employees punch out and have lunch time off? The answer of course was no. He stated that unless I could show on a time card that the employees had an off duty lunch, they must be paid.....end of discussion. When I left (and today) they were still getting paid.

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    See, that is where the confusion is setting in. The time clock automatically takes out a 1/2 hr. of pay. Because the rest of the hospital employees do not get paid lunches. But they have uninterupted lunches. We do not cause we can not turn our pagers off. Sooo, the labor board WILL see that we our off of the clock for 1/2 hr., but we are NOT fully relieved from duty during that period like everyone else. Thanks for the help though guys. Any other info would be appreciated.

    Oh, on another note, I heard the state labor board supercedes the federal labor board, as long as they have a policy in place on that given subject. If they don't, then the ruling is up to the feds. Any truth to this?

  7. #7
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Yea, but is the clock takeing you off when you actually eat or just automaticlly deducting a 1/2 hour. I think they mean you actually need to punch out and punch in at the time you start and finish lunch. If that is not the case, you should be getting paid.

    I too work for a hospital and my department is the only on in the hospital that gets paid for our breaks. Everyone else clocks out and clocks in for breaks. We can break without hitting the clock but are subject dumping it when the mierda hits the fan.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  8. #8
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    Our time clock is set up to pay each employee for their pre-programmed duty shift, with no time deducted for lunch. If we are called in early or work past the end of our shift we have to write it in a time clock exception book, which the shift supervisor initials so you get the overtime.

    No time is deducted for meals, but the supervisors really push for the guys to make sure they squeeze in lunch somewhere. It's tough sometimes when you walk in the station from an ALS call and, just as you're sitting down to eat, they tone you out for a fire or MVA.

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    I work full-time for a Fire Company {Firefighter/EMT} It's a volunteer House with five of us as Career Staff. Day shift personnel work 12hr. days and me {Night Shift} 8hr. Night. - We are "On Duty" the entire time we are at work. - therefore we are paid for our lunch/dinner time. - If we're eating and there is a run we're expected to respond and it hapens more than not --- Meals are inturutped for Fire and Medical Runs. - I'm sure the general public doesn't really care that we were sitting down to dinner when they got sick - we're paid the entire shift

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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I have never heard of any local private or public service do such a thing, when I worked 24's and 12 hour shifts as a private hospital based medic we didnt get deducted and everyone in our public safety services dispatch center doesnt get docked either.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Meal breaks are regulated under State laws. On the federal level, federal internal regulations apply to federal employees.

    In general, the meal period must be at least 1/2 hour and *uninterrupted* to qualify, otherwise it's paid time. Your state law may vary

    Talk to your State labor department and/or an attorney familiar with labor law in your state for more specific & accurate advise.

    Here's Connecticut's:

    Sec. 31-51ii. Meal periods. Exemptions. Regulations. (a) No person shall be required to work for seven and one-half or more consecutive hours without a period of at least thirty consecutive minutes for a meal. Such period shall be given at some time after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours.

    ...

    (c) The Labor Commissioner shall exempt any employer from the requirements of this section if he finds that (1) requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety, (2) the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee, (3) the employer employs less than five employees on a shift at a single place of business provided the exemption shall only apply to the employees on such shift or (4) the continuous nature of an employer's operations, such as chemical production or research experiments, requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for break and meal periods. The commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish the procedures and requirements for the granting of such exemptions.
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