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Human Resources

Work Schedules, Meals and Breaks

Date: January 2007

Policy: Work hours, meal breaks and rest periods vary according to departmental responsibility 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. An unpaid lunch break of thirty minutes to one hour is observed. Hours for part-time positions, or multi-shift operations may vary based on departmental and service needs. Full-time salaried positions normally require a commitment of at least 40 hours per week. Workload demands may require exempt employees to work more than 40 hours in any given week, but that does not provide entitlement to additional compensation or compensatory time off.

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.