Do you get paid for your break?


  • Specializes in ER, Med Surg. ICU, Mgmt. Geri. Hme Care.

HI everyone : I just started as a nurse supervisor at a LTC facility. I was surprised when the administrator told me that my 30 min( lunch ) was not paid. Even I can't leave the building, because there's nobody else who I could leave in charge. So, basically I have to take my break in sets of 10 minutes or all together, I need to fifure it out myself. Isn't this illegal? Anybody going through the same? thank you

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 46 years experience.

No - I'm not paid for my meal breaks.

Editorial Team / Admin

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,437 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.

I get paid for my 15 minute break (when I get it) but not for my lunch break. We can fill out a variance report stating that we did not have the break and get paid for it.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

PPs are correct. Employers do not have to pay non-exempt (hourly) employees for meal breaks. However, they have to ensure that you can actually cease work during that break in order for this to apply. In the situation you have described, this does not seem to be possible unless there is a qualified person to assume your duties while you are on break. So, if you have to remain 'in charge' and 'working' during this period of time, you must be paid for it.... it's US Federal law. I know of some large hospitals who were subjected to lengthy Federal Wage & Hour audits after complaints (about this issue) were filed - they had to re-vamp their processes, including making everyone clock out rather than just doing automatic 30-minute deductions for meals. They also had to pay significant fines and make back pay restitution to employees who were affected.

I would suggest taking the action suggested by PP - use existing HR/payroll processes to make sure you are paid if you can't actually take a lunch break. If that doesn't work, you can file an official complaint via your state's Employment Law channels. If you do that, you need to be prepared for the inevitable consequences. Retaliation is always a possibility so I'd suggest lining up another job first.

Editorial Team / Admin

Silverdragon102, BSN

1 Article; 39,477 Posts

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC. Has 35 years experience.

Depends where you live and what the facility is willing to do. I get paid for all my breaks but can not leave the facility


219 Posts

Specializes in ER, Med Surg. ICU, Mgmt. Geri. Hme Care.

HI: I agree totally, in fact I'm unable to just take my break; the very same administrator told me that "Ihave to make sure I get the break, tit can be in 10 or 15 min period, but I have to take it, they can't pay for it, she said it's amatter of DOL" I think it's a lie. the problem is that they won't pay overtime to the full time supervisor, that would be the case if they'd pay the break. thank you

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 43 years experience.

It is not common to be paid for your lunch hence you work 7am-& are not paid for that half hour. The Federal DOL provides for breaks for every 4 hours worked.

You need to contact your department of labor. This will vary state to state. It is NOT uncommon for personnel to not be allowed to leave the physical building especially if you are the RN on site for the facility in LTC. It will depend on whether you are hourly or salary but you cannot be both.

A call to your state DOL will be helpful. This link may help...


351 Posts

Heck I was lucky if I got a lunch in LTC! But no ours wasn't paid which meant they had me working for free for 30 minutes be because I never had time to take one

tewdles, RN

3,156 Posts

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

hourly employees generally do not get paid for one 30 minute lunch break and subsequently are scheduled for 8.5 hours.

law requires that the employer provide 2 paid 15 minute breaks during that 8 hour shift.

there are probably some minor differences from state to state...

Has 10 years experience.

Ooops. I meant to say I get paid for my breaks when I have no choice but to work through them...............


219 Posts

Specializes in ER, Med Surg. ICU, Mgmt. Geri. Hme Care.

That I know, my question was because given the fact that I'm the only RN in the house, and my position as Supervisor doesn't allow me to "take" my break. Meaning, I need to be at all times available. As said by the administrator, " you need to make sure you take your break, it doesn't matter if it's in 15 minutes portions, but you have to take it. You can't leave the building though"

So, that means I'm not really taking any time off. So, I think I should get paid for it. The problem, I think is not with me as part timer , but wilth the Full timers, because then, they should get overtime for the breaks, and that they don't want to pay.

Thank you for sharing you ideas and points of view.