30 minute lunch break while riding?

We have a mostly residential window cleaning business. There is a good bit of drive time in between jobs. If I am driving can my employee take his lunch break on the drive?


sounds kinda cheap too me


I am not trying to be cheap…just practical. Travel times are often over an hour between jobs because Atlanta has a very large metro area. We pay hourly and if we are doing 3 jobs a day we are often in the van for 2 hours or more of an 8-9 hour day…not including the drive time to the first job. Thanks for the input. I appreciate it!

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Sounds like it’s not a break to me, but I understand the dilemma. Compromise - pay him through lunch, or offer to buy something for him to eat on the go.

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Absolutely not legal if thats what your asking

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Do the right thing.

From US Dept of Labor : Time spent traveling during normal work hours is considered compensable work time.

Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week .

Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable.

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Perfect! Legality is what I was looking for. Thanks so much! I appreciate all the information.

If an employee works more than a 4 or 4,5 hour shift they are required by law to an unpaid 30 break

States may vary

Dept of Labor:

The FLSA does not require an employer to provide meal periods or rest breaks for their employees.
Some states do have laws requiring rest breaks and/or meal periods. Such state requirements will prevail over the silence of the FLSA on this subject. In those situations where an employee is subject to both the FLSA and state labor laws, the employee is entitled to the most beneficial provisions of each law.

MN does require it, I know I was audited for 3 days before and found 2 days where an employee had not taken a lunch break in course of a year, violated me $100

What a waste of time and state manpower.


I never asked my employees to do that. Its their time. Chill !

It’s our job as employers to schedule accordingly, run crews and bid our jobs in a manner that doesn’t rely on our employers to share in our expenses as employers.


Thanks for clarifying Matthew. I really appreciate all the information. This is our first employee and are trying to be aware of all the rules. We have been providing an unpaid 30 minute lunch break plus 2 additional 15 minute breaks for each 8 hour shift.

jhans, You are totally right!! I am sure very soon we will be able properly balance employee costs to job bids.

You need to check your state laws. In my state it’s perfectly legal to consider the driving time as a lunch break and it’s also legal to only pay min wage for drive time in my state. It’s legal but I don’t do either one.

I eat An drive alll the time , but that’s me. If I had employees driving no way would I want them eating, An driving. " An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure ". Plus like everyone is saying let them chill An eat for a half an hour. Price your jobs right !

This thread is a good reminder to me of why I switched to commission only pay.


I have seen people talking about cheeping out on hours (Not really here more in the construction forum I am in). They talk about not paying drive time to or from work sites, they suggest unpaid lunches, they suggest if someone loses something make them replace it. One guy even suggested secretly deducting hours if people are slacking off. This type of behavior is unacceptable. Pay your employees an honest wage and every hour they are there. You are not paying for the work they perform you are paying them for their time. If you cannot make money off an hourly employee maybe its time to rethink what YOU’RE doing wrong, not picking apart your helpers paychecks. Sorry for ranting, I just hate seeing this type of post as someone who clawed his way from being a laborer to a business owner, and was treated fairly and unfairly by different people.

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Another way of looking at it:
Pay employees commission only. You pay them a % then they regulate themselves. So long as you price correctly, everyone wins.

The idea of just paying someone because they showed up is ridiculous. As an employer, you have every right to expect an acceptable level of work in return for your money. Just like an employee should be able to expect fair compensation for their time/effort/skill.

If you are paying them comish, they will eat lunch on the drive between jobs, because it makes them more money. When you are only getting paid when you produce, it tends to change your attitude about what is “fair”.

In our economy, maybe paying commission makes much more sense for everyone. You as the employer, control labor costs better. This is turn makes your business more efficient and more likely to succeed. The employee gets the opportunity to make the money they desire. No more whining about getting paid more. No more milking the clock and slacking off, much less of the wasted trips back to the truck to get things they “forgot”.


Very well said. I could not agree more. We unfortunately live in a world now where everyone wants a job, but no one wants to work. The weeding out process is real.

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