Can I sue my boss for not giving me breaks if I’ve had to work 22 days without having a day off?

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Can I sue my boss for not giving me breaks if I’ve had to work 22 days without having a day off?

Also, I work (and so does my boyfriend) for more then 4 hours without breaks.

Asked on November 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

From the facts presented, if you are a full-time non-salaried employee, you may well have a claim since your employer schedules you to work more than 6 days in any given week. IL labor law requires all employers to give workers 1 “day of rest”. This means 24 hours of consecutive time off in every 7 day week. And this is in addition to the time off at the end of each work day. For example, if you end work at 3:00 pm on Wednesday and have to be back for your next shift at 3:00 pm Thursday, legally that doesn’t count as your day of rest, Why? You were off for 24 hours but you worked both Wednesday and Thursday. Employers are required to keep a record of all employees and the hours they work.

Employers can get a permit that allows them to schedule without this rest day but the employee has to specifically agree to work the extra day.

Note: This law does not apply if you work part-time (20 hours or less per week). There are a few other exceptions, including coal miners, agriculture workers, security guards, and those who are considered “executive, administrative, or professional” (typically salaried employees; i.e. exempt employees).

As for your break periods, every employer must allow 20 minutes of unpaid meal time for every employee working more than 7 1/2 hours a day. This time must begin no later than 5 hours into the work period. However, there is an exception if the employee is in a position that requires them to be on call; you do not have to be given a meal period but you must be allowed to eat on the job.

As a general rule, there is no law requiring employee breaks beyond the meal period (with the exception is for the hotel industry in Cook County - hotel attendants who work at least 7 hours get 2/15 minute paid breaks and 1/30 minute unpaid meal time).

If you feel that your rights are being violated you should contact IL's department of labor and/or an employment law attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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