Am I entitled to a lunch break?
Whether you are working as a salary or hourly employee, it is important to understand your rights under the law. One of the most important aspects of work is break time.
However, under both Arizona and federal law, neither salaried nor hourly employees get lunch breaks under the law. According to Minimum-Wage.org, employers are within their rights to either not give lunch breaks or give a very short period for one.
Are any breaks paid?
If your employer chooses to give you a break during the lunch day, there is a legal distinction depending on how long the break-in question lasts. For instance, if the break is between 5 and 20 minutes long, then under federal law this is compensable work time. So these breaks are actually paid.
In the event that you have an actual lunch period that is longer than 30 minutes, then this break is not a paid break. The requirement for the break to be unpaid is that the employee must not do any sort of work during this break. If the employee is answering telephones or looking at email during the break, then the company must pay the employee.
What if I go above 40 hours a week?
If you are not given a formal lunch period and this ends up extending your work more than 40 hours a week, then you are entitled to overtime. This applies whether you are an hourly worker or a salaried worker. So if you are at work for 9 total hours Monday through Friday and that extra hour is not an unpaid lunch break, then the company must pay you overtime.