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By Louise Herman

When you start a new position, understanding the hours you must work and how you are paid is essential to ensuring you receive the correct compensation for the duties you perform. You may find out something is amiss when you try to take a lunch break only to be told to get back to work. Unfortunately, the Fair Labor Standards Act does not cover lunch breaks, so many states have their own rules and regulations. Keep reading to learn more about what laws Rhode Island has enacted and how a Providence, Rhode Island wage & hour lawyer can help you navigate any issues you may have.

Is My Employer Required to Provide a Lunch Break in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, your employer is required to provide breaks. For employees who work a six-hour shift, employers must allow a twenty-minute break for mealtime. If you work eight hours, thirty minutes for mealtime is required.

It is important to note that employers are not required to provide compensation for these breaks. However, if you are working through your lunch break, such as eating while answering phones, you must be compensated for this time, regardless of whether or not your employer refers to it as a lunch break.

However, there are exceptions to these rules. If you work in healthcare facilities, a company with less than five employees, or there are fewer than three staff members working one shift, these rules do not apply.

Can I Do Anything if My Employer Won’t Let Me Take a Break?

If your employer prohibits you from taking your legally required lunch breaks or makes you work through the breaks without compensation, there are steps you can take to get justice.

You’ll want to document all the time you’ve worked when you’re supposed to be on lunch and any communications from your employer about lunch breaks. You should then contact the Rhode Island Department of Labor to file a complaint.

Similarly, you should consider reaching out to an experienced employment attorney. Not only will they help hold your employer responsible for breaking labor laws, but they may also be able to help you receive compensation for the time you worked through your lunch breaks.

When working, you should be able to take advantage of the legally required rests you are entitled to as an employee. If your boss violates these rules in any way, such as forcing you to do unpaid work or preventing you from taking time, you do not have to suffer. Instead, you’ll want to contact the Herman Law Group as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will review your circumstances to provide guidance on how to proceed. Reach out today to connect with a member of our team.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.