Although it’s clear that most employees are in fact entitled to meal breaks, there is no private cause of action for alleged violations of NYLL §162, as the NYLL vests the New York Commissioner of Labor with the sole authority to enforce § 162. See Hill v. City of New York, 136 F. Supp. 3d 304, 351 (E.D.N.Y. 2015) (“[T]here is no private right of action to enforce [N.Y. Lab. Law] § 162.”). This means employees who are denied meal breaks to which they are entitled cannot bring a lawsuit in court, but instead, must present their claims to the New York Commissioner of Labor who is charged with regulating and enforcing the law.
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NYS break laws
NYS lunch break labor laws cover the requirements concerning employee lunch time periods.
NYLL §162(1) requires that all employees working in, or in connection with, a factory must be given at least a 60 minute noon day meal break.
NYLL §162(2) requires that all other employees who work in excess of six hours must be given at least a 30 minute noon day meal break.
The “noon day meal” is recognized as one that is taken during the period extending from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., meaning that the hours of employment must extend through the noon day meal period.
Additional lunch break laws
NYLL §162(3) requires that every person employed for a period starting before 11:00 a.m. and continuing later than 7:00 p.m. must be allowed an additional meal period of at least 20 minutes between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
NYLL §162(4) requires that all factory workers who work for more than six hours between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. must be given a 60 minute meal break and all other workers who work for more than six hours between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. must be given a 45 minute meal break.
Not getting a lunch time?
Hopefully, this article has clarified the structure of New York lunch break laws. If you are being denied lunch breaks in NYC to which you are entitled under the law, contact a New York employment attorney to help enforce your rights.
The Law Firm of Yuriy Moshes provides white glove service to all of our clients, and we may be able to help you resolve any issues that arise with your employer. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation. You have nothing to lose.