9 to 5?

The phrase “nine to five” has for years been proverbial for the ordinary eight-hour working day. However, I don’t think I’ve ever had a job where the hours were actually from 9 to 5. I don’t know of any employer that pays you for your lunch break. If you take a half hour for lunch, you have to stay at work another half hour to make it eight hours. You have to work either from 8:30 to 5:00, or from 9:00 to 5:30. I think there are some places that only pay you for seven and a half hours, and you stay there from 9 to 5. But I haven’t seen any seven-and-a-half hour job lately; I don’t know if anyone still does that.

My question is: Was there ever a time in America, after the eight-hour working day legislation, when people actually worked 9 to 5 and got paid for a full 8 hours, including lunch? If so, how long ago must that have been? Is there anyplace nowadays where this is still done?


When I was a full-time police officer we were scheduled 8 hours per shift, but given an “assumed” 30 minutes for lunch (paid). What that means is, it was alright to take a half hour per shift to eat, but if a call came in, you had to take it. There were many times I ran out of a diner with a sandwhich in my hand.
Now that I do the gig part-time I still run to calls with a sandwhich in my hand (I just get paid less than when I was full-time.:rolleyes: )

At my [now] regular job as a security consultant everybody gets a paid 60 minute lunch break. But even the absolute lowest person on the totem pole gets something like 40k a year.
I think it has a lot to do with what type/level of work you do.

When I was in high school/college working at a dairy factory I was lucky to get two 10 minute breaks on a ten hour shift!

My wife works at a major biotech firm; her 8-hour day includes time for lunch.

Every full-time job I’ve ever held paid me for 37 1/4 hours per week. I was never paid for my half-hour lunch (45 minutes on Friday; check-cashing time). Any time beyond 37 1/4 was at time-and-a-half.

And never were any of those hours ‘9 to 5’, usually it was 8 to 4 or 8:15 to 4:15.

I work 9 - 5.30 with a presumed hour off for paid lunch. Admittedly that’s salaried employment. In my last job in a state-owned institution I worked as a part timer. My shifts were only 8 hours long including an hour for lunch and, even though I was paid by the hour I still got paid for my lunch. :stuck_out_tongue:

(and it’s only right! but that’s another argument…)

I’ve worked in Ireland, UK, France and USA (CA) and I’ve never had a job where I wasn’t getting paid for lunch. I just always presumed that it was a normal practice of any company in any country.

In the military (salaried, natch) each boss sets his troops’ hours based on their needs. The standard for an office job is that we should be in early enough not to miss any calls from our earliest-rising contacts, and leave “when the mission has been accomplished.” Some bosses mandate that you take 1 [sup]1[/sup]/[sub]2[/sub] hours off on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to go to the gym, since physical fitness is part of the job. Some bosses just make you come in at 0600 on Mondays for a formation run (that’s bad) but then you get to go home at 1400 (that’s good!). It’s a loosely-enforced 8-hour day based on the assumption that when the load’s heavy, you’ll pull 12 hours without bitching, and when it’s light, you won’t hang around wasting time.

And of course, if it’s Friday, and you’ve worked your ass off that week, and it’s a beautiful sunny day outside, there’s nothing nicer than having a full colonel walk up to your desk and say “Jurph, it’s Friday, and it’s a beautiful day. You’ve been working too hard. Go get some lunch with the other lieutenants and take the rest of the day off. I do not want to see you back in this office until Monday morning. Understood?”

“Yes, sir!” :cool:

Okay, so it only happens two or three times a year. But still!

All jobs that I have held were 8 to 5. This provides for either a 1 hour lunch or a 1/2 hour lunch and two 15 minute breaks. At one point I was told that the 9 to 5 job was a phenomenon based in New York City, but found out that this was just an over-simplified pat answer.

I work 9 - 5.

I THINK I have a paid lunch break, but I’m not positive. Either way, I still take an hour break.

I’m management in a soap factory and our hourly workers (unionized, I might add) work shifts from 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7. All 8 hours, including 1/2 hour lunch, and two 1/4 hour breaks in the day.

They get paid for 40 hour weeks.

In my employee handbook and other documentaiton, it does not specify whether lunch is paid or not. I have been taking about an hour lunch for my last two jobs (professional jobs), and nobody has ever said anything, and I have always gotten good reviews. I include my lunch time in the 8 hours I am supposed to be at work. So never been real sure on the policy, but until someone says something, I will continue to operate in this manner.

I think it’s interesting how many people assume that their particular work schedule and break policies conform to some kind of universal standard. There’s also a taboo about discussing your pay. It’s too bad people aren’t more open about these things because then you could more easily comparison shop, which after all is your right as a seller of your labor.

My union (and I think most unions) negotiated an agreement with management to release salary information (with employee names deleted). They publish a booklet full of salary statistics every year so you can see where you compare with other employees and also as a check on management’s claims that they gave out an x% average raise the previous year.

Myself, I work nine hours Monday thru Thursday, and eight hours Friday, with an unpaid 45-minute lunch. I then get every other Friday (like today) off. The start and stop time (and the exact nine-hours-per-day) are somewhat flexible. The main requirement is that we work 40 hours total from noon Friday to noon Friday. I work for a private corporation that does 95% of its business with the government, so we conform to the government schedule.

I used to work straight 8 hour shifts with lunch paid, however lunch was only 15 minutes. We had two other ten minute paid breaks. This was a factory that operated three shifts a day. I hated when they switched to half hour (unpaid) lunches - the extra half hour either tacked onto the start time or quitting time felt like an extra three hours sometimes. I can eat a sandwich in five minutes, what to do with the other twenty five minutes? I’d rather get out of there and spend the time at home.

In the pre-computer days of banking, many banks were open 10-3. Employees came in one hour early to open up and it usually took 2 hours to close the teller cages, reconcile the daily records, etc. I don’t know how lunch and breaks were handled.

When I was in public relations I was shocked to find out that our New York office didn’t open until 9:00 a.m. I was told that with the commuter train schedules, it was nearly impossible for many employees to be at their desk before 9:00, and most of them had to leave between 5:00 and 6:00 to catch the suburban train home. No lunch, though – everyone worked pretty much straight through the day.

I work 9 to 5, with an unpaid half hour lunch break. I only work 3 days a week…the rest of the time I am a superhero.