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Skip lunch, leave early?

Q: If I work from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. with no lunch, and leave 15 minutes early every day, is that okay to do and still get paid for 8 hours?

A: Good question. It sounds like this work schedule is your preference and not mandated by your employer or your manager. And I need to make a few assumptions. I will assume that you are a Massachusetts-based employee, and that you are 18 years or older. (The regulations covering the employment of minors, especially with regard to the number of work hours, are far more stringent in terms of the number of hours worked per day.)

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Massachusetts does have a state law that requires a 30-minute meal break after six hours of work. Workers must be relieved of all job-related responsibilities during this time. This meal break does not have to paid. There are some industries that are exempt from this law (iron, glass, etc.). An employee can voluntarily work through the meal break, but the employee should be compensated for this time.

You also mention that you leave 15 minutes early every day. Coffee breaks and the like are not required by Massachusetts state law. Some employers offer them but others do not. You may want to check to see if your company offers a 15-minute paid break to employees.

You may want to contact your supervisor or manager to determine if this schedule is acceptable. Generally, employers are permitted to schedule employees as business needs dictate within reason. Your schedule sounds like it is permissible from a legal standpoint, but whether your employer offers a paid 15-minute break is a question I can not answer.

Thanks for your question.

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