The idea of having a lunch break at work is a simple one: the employee has been working a long time and deserves time to rest and refresh themselves. This allows them to continue working productively and without distraction. While the benefits seem obvious, there are only a couple federal and state laws, that give these benefits to its workers.
Under Michigan law, an employee over the age of 18, has no rights to a break or a lunch hour. This also holds true under Federal law. The only difference is under federal law, an act exists called the federal Fair Labor Standers Act. This Act requires employers to give nursing mothers a break time that is reasonable. The break area must be hidden from view and must be a place that is free of coworkers and the public. However, employers do not have to pay the employees for such breaks.
There are statutory laws in Michigan that protect employees that are minors. “Employees under 18 years of age may not work more than 5 continuous hours without a 30 minute uninterrupted rest period”. Basically, if a minor is working an 8 hour shift, the employer is required by law to give them a break.
In short, if you are receiving a lunch break or more at work, and you are employed in Michigan then your employer is voluntarily giving you that lunch or break. Something to keep in mind is that if you do receive short breaks, the breaks are considered towards your time worked and are used to determine if you qualify for overtime that week. While it is true that many employers offer breaks for their employees, it is not a requirement under Michigan law. For more information on your rights as an employee, contact a local employment law attorney and check out the links below.