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Break Periods in New Jersey

Must your employer allow you to take breaks at work?

Unfortunately, New Jersey has no law that entitles employees (except minors) to any breaks, no matter how long they work.  Not even to use the restroom! 

Currently, New Jersey employees must rely on federal regulations, such as those promulgated by OSHA (www.osha.gov), for break entitlements.

But New Jersey employees may soon have rights in this area.  In January 2006, bills were introduced on both the New Jersey Senate and Assembly that, if passed, will provide employees with statutorily protected rest and meal breaks.  Specifically, employees who work more than six consecutive hours would be entitled to a 30 minute “meal break” and employees who work more than four continuous hours would be entitled to a 15 minute “rest break.”  You can view the text of the bills and their current status here by clicking in Bills and searching for A2560 and S1021.  If you want to see these bills passed, write or call your congressperson!

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