Pennsylvania Statute for Employee Meal Breaks
- The Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor regulates the work hours and pay provisions established by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Although the FLSA does not cover all employers, it applies to employers with at least $500,000 in annual gross profits, government employers, public agencies, health care and educational institutions, and interstate employers. According to the act, covered employers are not required to provide their employees with paid or unpaid meal breaks but can discretionarily allow their employees to take meal breaks. If they do, they must pay them for work conducted during their breaks. Additionally, they must pay them for meal breaks that are less than 30 minutes long.
- States are free to enact mandatory meal break statutes in the absence of federal regulations. In Pennsylvania, employers are not required to provide their employees with paid or unpaid meal breaks unless they employ minors. Employers with employees under 18 must provide them with mandatory meal or rest breaks. According to the Pennsylvania child labor statute, all employers with employees under 18 must allow them to take one 30-minute unpaid break for every five consecutive hours worked.
Child Labor Law
- The Bureau of Labor Law Compliance within the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry administers the Child Labor Law, also known as Act No. 177 of 1915. The act and the Regulations Governing the Employment of Minors in Industry, Subchapter B, requires employers to provide their employees with rest or meal breaks. Although Pennsylvania law requires employers to keep logs of daily work hours for their minor employees, they do not have to pay them for their breaks.
- The Bureau of Labor Law Compliance requires each employer to certify work hours for employees ages 14 to 17. Employers must list daily work hours for each employee and record the times they exercised their meal or rest breaks. Furthermore, Pennsylvania law requires employers to show the "Abstract of the Child Labor Law" and the work hours log in conspicuous areas. Employers are required to keep their schedules posted and current. Employers who violate the commonwealth's child labor law statutes face criminal or civil prosecution, and the commonwealth has the option of imposing both types of sentences.
- Since Pennsylvania laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania.