In the middle of a memo chastising fellow workers about their upkeep of our lunchroom, our company’s HR person wrote “we are not required by law to have a lunchrom”. Is this true? I thought all businesses of a certain size were required to have at least a breakroom. My company is ~60 employees and in Washington State, if that makes a difference.
No idea about the law (either down there or up here), but that strikes me as a situation where you don’t want to cut off your nose to spite your face. Assuming there is a law requiring a lunch/break room, what exactly are the MINIMUM requirements for such a room? Challenging HR on that issue might cause you to find out in a hurry exactly what those minimum requirements are.
I couldn’t find anything supporting your claim in a quick Google search. What I did find suggests that it’s in your best interest to keep the break room clean.
Anyway, it would not surprise me if your company decided that the break room looked “unprofessional” and took it away. A similar thing recently happened in my company.
I have no idea about the law in this matter, but let’s just say you’re both right, no lunchroom is required, but a breakroom is. That could mean that they might pull out the fridge, microwave, sink etc… and just leave you with a table a coffee pot, a water cooler and a sign that says no food allowed in break room. As others have said, do your research before you start making a fuss about it. IOW pick your battles.
Alright, here we go.
For 60 people in the state of Washington, the employer must provide a 720 sq foot lunchroom if employees are allowed to eat on the worksite and are exposed to toxic substances. Also, they DO NOT have to provide a lunchroom if it is convenient for the employees to leave for lunch.
Click the link and search for “lunchroom”
In general the HR department will know the law before they say something like “we are not required by law”
Also, when it comes to things like this, for most states you can google “(name of state) labor law” and look through the links for one that is a state website…as opposed to one created by a labor law attorney.
Even if that statement were true, your company’s employees are not required by law to work there, either.
Companies give employees all kinds of benefits in order to attract and retain good employees. Many are not required by law, but so what?
Alot of employees don’t understand labor law. Wait, that’s putting in nicely. Alot of employees, don’t have a friggin clue about labor law and have a tendency to make up their own ‘laws’ based on heresay or things they think should be the law. Doing this causes them to think that some of the benefits are more then just benefits and they start abusing them.
For example at my workplace we had a problem with how breaks were being taken. I heard one employee (she hasn’t the slightest clue I heard this) say that it’s a law in Wisconsin that if you work more then 6 hours you get a half hour paid break.
Here’s the relevant law
Here’s what the Wisconsin labor law website says
Soon after I heard the comment, and in light of the break situation going on, I typed up signs explaining exactly how our breaks work, and made a note at the end stating that breaks are NOT required by law, they are a privalage.
Understand, I wasn’t trying to be an ass by saying that, but employees need to understand what is and what isn’t part of the law. They can quit if they don’t like it, but don’t try to throw the law in my face. Also, it costs me time and money when an employee quits because they arn’t getting what they think is lawfully theirs (ie breaks/lunchroom) and then use that as a basis for trying to get unemployment.
Me, for example. Until now, I was not aware of laws which recommend something without requiring it. I can’t imagine why the legislators would go to the time and effort of such a thing.
Some laws are not practical to enforce. Some laws used to be enforcable but are not enforcable nowadays. But something like this was designed to be unenforcable to begin with! Why bother? Are there any implications at all for an employer who gives 20-minute breaks instead of the “recommended” 30-minute breaks?
In Wisconsin, like the law states, we don’t have to give any break at all, BUT if we do give a break and it’s 30 minutes or less we MUST pay it. That would be the only implication.
I don’t think it’s ‘on the books’ so to speak. The reason it’s mentioned is so that they can put a law in stating that less then 30 minute breaks have to be paid with out implying that breaks are required. If you think about it, what it actually winds up doing is encouriging employers to give longer breaks so they don’t have to pay them. In fact many employers will go so far as to require a one hour break for just this reason. I’ve worked with several time clock programs and with them you can usually tell them how long a break should be, let’s say one hour. What the clock will then do is automatically subtract one hour from each day if the person doesn’t punch our for a break and/or if the person punches out and punches back in during the day and both punches are within one hour of each other it forces them to be an hour apart. IOW if you punch out for your break at 12:22 and punch back in at 1:00 it will actually stamp your card for 1:22.
ETA, I just re-read my other post and noticed that the recommendation appears to be a separate law. Well in that case I think it’s for two reasons, one what I said before, they are making sure everyone understands that they are not required, but that could have been written in with the other part that mentions the 20 minute break rule. Second, since they made a point of doing this, I assuming it’s for UI law. When an employee tries to get UI payments it gives them one more thing to use against the employer. Yeah, it’s legal to not give breaks, but the state of Wisconsin recommends it. So while that won’t get you UI money alone, it’s another think to add to your argument.