Does Your Employer Automatically Deduct Unpaid Breaks from Your Hours?

Posted on behalf of Peter T. Nicholl in Unpaid Overtime Feb 06, 2019

note on clock for lunch breakSome employers like to do automatic lunch deductions for unpaid breaks. However, employers can run into trouble if they do certain things when they use these automatic deductions.

If your employer automatically deducted your lunch break and this resulted in your being denied wages you were legally entitled, our Maryland unpaid overtime lawyers can review your situation in a free, no obligation consultation.

Maryland Law on Lunch Breaks

Under Maryland law, employers must provide employees under the age of 18 and those who work in certain retail positions with one 30-minute break per every five consecutive hours worked.

The Healthy Retail Employee Act requires certain retail employers to give employee breaks depending on the duration of the shift worked:

  • Shifts up to four consecutive hours require no breaks.
  • Shifts between four and six consecutive hours require a 15-minute break.
  • Shifts between six and eight hours require a 30-minute break.
  • Shifts of eight or more consecutive hours require a 30-minute break plus a 15-minute break per every additional four consecutive hours.

If you are not under the age of 18 or are not covered under the Healthy Retail Employee Act, Maryland law does not require an employer to provide you with a lunch break, or any type of break. If employers choose to offer lunch breaks exceeding 20 minutes, they do not have to pay wages for that lunch break if:

  • The employer permits employees to leave the worksite during the break.
  • The employee takes the break.
  • The employee does not perform work during the break time.

What is an Automatic Lunch Deduction?

Currently, there is a pending case against the University of Maryland Medical System Corporation (UMMS) alleging employees were unfairly denied overtime through the use of automatic lunch deductions. Per the lawsuit, UMMS automatically deducted lunch breaks ranging between 30 and 60 minutes, even if the employee continued working through lunch.

The lawsuit also alleges employees were told not to report it when they worked through lunch. This prevented them from reversing automatic lunch deductions. The employees routinely worked through lunch because they had to deal with a high volume of patients when lunch breaks were scheduled.

This is a violation of the law because employees must have a reporting mechanism for when they work through lunch, so they can be paid for their time. UMMS employees allegedly could not clock in or out for lunch, they were only able to track the time they arrived and departed.  

Contact Our Reputable Attorneys for Help

If your employer has violated Maryland’s wage laws or federal wage laws, you may be owed compensation for the wages you have not been paid. Our trusted attorneys can review your case and possibly help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

Request a free, no obligation consultation today and learn your legal rights. There are no upfront fees to pay and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for your claim.

Call 410-244-7005 or complete our Free Case Review form now.

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