Work Schedules, Meals and Breaks

Date: February 2016


The College maintains work hours which are consistent with state and federal law. Because of the differing nature of the range of work performed, departmental guidelines determine employee scheduling needs and should be communicated to employees as part of their orientation.   

Work Schedules

Work hours, meal breaks and rest periods vary according to departmental necessity and are scheduled by the department head and/or supervisor. Most administrative offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays, with an unpaid lunch break of thirty minutes to one hour. Hours for part-time positions or multi-shift operations may vary based on departmental and service needs.

Supervisors who manage hourly paid staff should be aware of their regular schedules and appropriately plan overtime based on operational needs.  Hourly employees may be asked to work additional hours during particularly busy times of the year and will be expected to be flexible when these needs arise. Departments that have “mandatory overtime/blackout” periods will provide staff with reasonable advance notice of this. Prior supervisor approval is required before working over-time. Employees who have been on restrictions or out of work due to a workplace injury are not eligible for overtime until they’ve been back to unrestricted work, full duty, for at least 60 days.  

Essential hourly staff are those identified as having positions deemed necessary to maintain basic College operations during scheduled closures or unscheduled suspension of normal operations due to emergencies, events or other situations. Essential staff may not work more than two double shifts in a pay week and such shifts cannot be worked consecutively, barring extreme circumstances such as a declared State of Emergency. For example, Security Officers may periodically fill in for a fellow officer and work two consecutive shifts for a total of 16 hrs. Check with your supervisor if clarification is needed regarding whether or not your position is considered essential. 

Exempt/salaried employees are expected to work as many hours as necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of their position. Typically that is at least 40 hours per week for full-time employees and often more depending on the operational demands at the time. The same applies, proportionally, to part-time exempt employees. Exempt employees who work beyond their “regular schedule” (including nights and weekends) are not entitled to additional compensation or compensatory time off.

Meals and Breaks

Lunch breaks are scheduled by supervisors and may be staggered to provide adequate office/service coverage. Maine law requires that most employees be given at least a thirty minute unpaid rest break (that may be a meal break) after six hours of work. In exceptional circumstances, an employee may voluntarily request that this meal break be waived in order to accommodate an alternative schedule. If the supervisor approves, the employee and the supervisor must document the alternative schedule in writing, noting that it is voluntary and may be discontinued by either party at any time.

Morning and afternoon breaks or rest periods of no more than 15 minutes, although not required by state law, may be permitted with the supervisor's approval if the workload permits. Unused breaks cannot be accumulated for later use, late arrival or early dismissal, or credited for paid-time off. In certain working conditions (e.g., extreme heat or cold), more frequent rest breaks may also be approved by the supervisor.