RE: Mandatory lunch breaks? WARNING..Will Robinson... This is a l ong one...delete if you don't want to read.

From:Jenny Oblander

I copied this from the OSHA Page on the web. Interesting...
The Honorable Mark O. Hatfield
United States Senator
475 Cottage Street, N.E.
Salem, Oregon 97301

Dear Senator Hatfield:

This is in response to your letter of December 27, 1985, in which you
request information on behalf of Mr. Roy Riehl on safety requirements
applicable to lunch and rest breaks during an employee's workday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has neither
researched nor issued standards requiring that workers be permitted lunch
and rest breaks in the course of their workday. This probably is due to the
fact that such breaks are generally handled as labor-management negotiating
issues and do not necessarily impact safety and health on many types of

Because of Mr. Riehl's connection with the trucking industry, however, there
is a possibility that two transportation statutes may apply to his

Regulations promulgated under the Motor Carrier Safety Act, administered by
the Department of Transportation, require that those employed in driving
commercial vehicles involved in interstate commerce shall accumulate (1) no
more than ten hours of driving time consecutively, (2) no more than fifteen
hours of on-duty (on-the-job but not necessarily at the wheel) time
following each eight hour off-duty period and, (3) no more than seventy
hours of driving time within any eight day period.

Violations of these rules by covered carriers (particularly if they pose a
danger to worker safety or health) should be brought to the attention of the
local office of the Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety. In instances where an
employee believes he or she has been discriminated against for making safety
or health complaints relating to motor vehicle operation or work hours, a
complaint may be filed with the local OSHA Area Office Surface
Transportation Assistance Act, Section 405).

Depending on Mr. Riehl's present situation, he may wish to take advantage of
one of these options.

With respect to research, it appears little has been done on stress levels
connected with uninterrupted truck driving. Nonetheless, we did discover one
study produced by the International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland
(1979), entitled, "Hours of Work and Rest Periods in Road Transport." I have
enclosed a copy for your review.

I hope this information will be useful to you and your constituent, Mr.


Francis J. Frodyma
Acting Director of Policy

December 27, 1985

Mr. Thorne Auchter
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health
200 Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Auchter:

Enclosed is a letter from my constituent, Mr. Roy Riehl, which outlines his
feelings about the fact that there are no requirements under the Federal
wage and hour law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, for a meal break or rest
periods during an employee's workday. You will also note that I have
enclosed a copy of the response I received from Mr. Joe C. Garcia, Regional
Administrator of the Employment Standards Administration which emphasizes
this fact.

Although I am doubtful that federal legislation regarding this matter would
be successful at this point, I would appreciate your providing me with any
information you might have available which would indicate that this subject
has been studied. Has it ever been approached from a safety standpoint, and
what were the results? Any narrative or statistics you have would be helpful
in my responding further to my constituent.

Please respond to my Salem office at 475 Cottage Street N.E., Salem, Oregon

Thank you for your kind attention to this inquiry.


Mark O. Hatfield
United States Senator
United States Senate
Washington, D.C.

December 2, 1985

Honorable Mark O. Hatfield
United States Senator
475 Cottage Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

Subject: Breaks Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Dear Senator Hatfield:

This is in response to your letter dated November 18, 1985, addressed to
Wilbur J. Olson, Assistant Regional Administrator for Wage and Hour. In that
letter, you communicate the concern of your constituent Roy A. Riehl, about
the absence of any requirement under the Federal wage and hour law, the Fair
Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for a meal period or breaks during an employee's

We recognize Mr. Riehl's concern. The points he raises have, among others,
caused many States to regulate this aspect of employment. For this point to
be addressed by the FLSA would require statutory changes. I know of no
current legislative activity along these lines.

I regret that we can be of no assistance in this matter. If you have any
further questions, please contact W. J. Olson, Assistant Regional
Administrator, at:

U.S. Department of Labor/ESA
Wage and Hour Division
3032 Federal Office Building
909 First Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98174

Telephone No. (206) 442-1914

FTS 399-1914


Joe C. Garcia
Regional Administrator


Mr. Naff,

I spoke with you on the phone a few months ago regarding the fact that
businesses which are under federal jurisdiction are not obliged by law to
allow their employees a lunch period. You advised me to write you a letter
restating our conversation so that possibly something could be done to
remedy the problem.

I drive a truck for a local sand and gravel company and for the past couple
of weeks we've been putting in at least ten hour days of constant driving.
This is with no lunch or rest break at all. This is a matter of safety, not
to mention humane consideration to allow a person a change to slow down,
stretch legs, eat and maybe have some coffee. Our dispatcher insists that
eating and drinking can be done while driving. Mind you, these are thirteen
speed manual shift transmissions we have which involve much of one's time
and dexterity while in motion. This, coupled with the rough ride, results in
more food and drink being worn than eaten.

This is only a brief outline of some of the reasons a person who drives
might need to have a break and doesn't cover other professions such as those
working with many types of machinery who's safety and well-being could be in

I would like to see it made law that businesses, under federal jurisdiction,
be compelled to allow their employees a lunch period of at least one half
hour if the employee desires one.

Any help you could be in introducing and establishing this proposal will be
appreciated very much by me and I'm sure many others across the nation.

Could you please let me know what results from this?

Many Thanks,

Roy A. Riehl
4482 Liberty Rd. S.
Salem, OR 97302
Ph.# 581-3266

-----Original Message-----
From: Lesley Weston []
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2003 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: Mandatory lunch breaks?

Other posts to this group make it clear that histologists are becoming
increasingly rare and valuable. You don't have to put up with this sort of
thing - other employers will be glad to treat you as responsible adults and
allow you to decide for yourselves how you will organise your work-day. If
you can find some way to make this clear to your present employer, even the
time-clocks might disappear.

Lesley Weston.

on 09/04/2003 11:22 AM, at wrote:

> Hi all - In the pathology department at our hospital we prefer NOT to take
> a lunch break, since that puts us 1/2 hour further behind.  The three of
> are already currently working more hours than we would prefer, and do not
> want to stay longer into the day than we already  have to.  We prefer to
> take a 15-20 minute break earlier in the day, and then work thru till the
> work is done.  If we have a new employee or a pool person we tell them
> can take a 1/2 hour lunch if they would like, and that they are also
> entitled to a 15 minute break for each 4 hours they work.  We never tell
> anyone they can't take a lunch.  We just prefer not to take one
> Now administration is telling us we all HAVE to take a 30 minute lunch and
> that it will be deducted from our time cards.  I'm wondering how this is
> handled in other places, and if anyone knows if there is a federal law
> mandating 30 minutes lunches, or if it varies state by state, or per
> unions, etc.  Any input is appreciated!

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