Saturday, August 18, 2007

Labor Laws

Do you know that in nearly all states, you can be required to work the whole day on your job with NO breaks? Not for lunch, not for bathroom, not for any reason. You can imagine my surprise when my husband is starting a job working in a factory through a temp agency for only $9.00/hr and he gets 2 fifteen minute breaks over an 8-hour period. I always thought that employers were required to give 1/2 lunch hour break after each 6 hours worked. At least that used to be the law mandated by the Federal Department of Labor. My, my, how things have changed! This is from the Michigan Department of Labor website:

Employees under 18 years of age may not work more than 5 continuous hours without a 30 minute uninterrupted rest period. There are no requirements for breaks, meal or rest periods for employees over 18 years of age.

Which means, in the state of Michigan, if you're over the age of 18, an employer is NOT required to give you ANY breaks. Period!

Seems like this is all perfectly legal now in most states. You can find a list here of the states that do have laws regarding lunch breaks at work:

If your state is not listed here, perhaps it's time to write to your state representatives to ask why there is no requirement in your state for workers to get lunch breaks.

You know, I've never been pro-union. I always felt that the government had labor laws to protect workers. Now, I'm not so sure anymore.


Blogger Shannon said...

Another oxymoron with labor law is that they can't force you to take an unpaid break. All those years we were mandated that we had to take a one hour lunch that was unpaid is against labor laws. You can choose to work and earn the money according to the law. Interesting stuff. Hope things get better for you guys, I know that the only way to ensure that you'll have a retirement anymore is to set up your own IRA or something...seems like no company is really holding to their retirement plans anymore.

Was Coney in a union at the old workplace?? That would simplify bringing action against the management to file the necessary paperwork.

8:22 AM  
Blogger ME said...

Nope, no union. Actually, I've never thought much about unions until now. Now I'm thinking more folks ought to think about getting unions in their workplaces to protect them. No one else will.

Hope things are going well for you guys!

9:22 PM  

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