What If The Nature Or Circumstances Of The Work Prevent Me From Giving My Workers An Uninterrupted 30-Minute Meal Period?

If, because of the nature or circumstances of the work, an employee is required to remain on duty or to perform any tasks during the meal period, the employer must consider the meal period as hours worked and pay the employee for the period. Note: Whenever it is possible to provide an uninterrupted 30­minute meal period, the employer must do so. Factors to be consider with regard to "nature or circumstances" include:
  • Safety and health of employees, patients, clients and the public;
  • Availability of other employees to provide relief;
  • Qualifications of those available to provide relief;
  • Costs involved in the shutdown/startup of machinery;
  • Intermittent and unpredictable work flow not in the control of the employer or employees;
  • Unforeseeable equipment failures, emergencies, acts of nature. OAR 839­020­0050(3).

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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