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Thread: Required Lunch Break

  1. #1
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Required Lunch Break

    I feel that we have talked about this at some point, but I can't find the post that talked about it.

    I work in a community that requires that I take a 1 hour lunch. Although somedays it is very nice to have that full hour, I rarely use much of it at all. I just waste time reading pointless things online. If I were allowed the flexibility to leave early, or come in late, I would happily only take a 20 minute lunch. Honestly, I would work through lunch to get out an hour early everyday...but my wife says that wouldn't be healthy for me anyways.

    So do most people HAVE to take lunch? Do you all take hour lunches, or do you get flexibility? Is everyone salaried so they just do what they want and flex the hours to make it work?
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  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    I can take my lunch whenever I want. So if I only use 1/2 hour at lunchtime, I can leave 1/2 hour early at the end of the day.

    Often times, I work through lunch and take my "lunch hour" at the end of the day.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    When I was in Planning they were always taking our lunch hour away from us, to man the front counter. No comp time or flexing. Then I moved down to Engineering and they mandated an hour lunch, no flex, for 4 years. Finally said 30 min minimum but only flexing a 1/2 hour before or after the standard 8-5. And it was a set in stone, 5 days a week schedule; we couldn't work half our lunch and decide to leave at 4:30. The county engineer was kind of a control freak. Every department had different rules on lunch.

  4. #4
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    We're all salary here in the Planning Dept. and can take our lunches whenever during the normal lunch hours (11a-2p). We just have to make sure that there is at least one person available to answer questions, but nothing as strict as ZG's experience.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    this problem often comes up around wv06's neck of the woods..

    some departments flex the time others have to take it..which causes drama

    However, I have said several times it would all be fixed if we had a 1 hour paid lunch. If you dont take the whole time your loss. My first job had this and I loved it, We were there from 9 to 5 with the 1 hour paid lunch in between. Now I work 8 to 5 with a mandatory 1 hour unpaid break which keeps me here 45 hours a week instead of 40!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    Lunch Break, what's this you speak of? 4 out of 5 days a week I'd say I eat at my desk while reading emails or catching up on correspondence. Take a bite, take a sip, answer an email. Already I don't feel like there is enough time in the day to get what I have to done and taking a full hour would be more than I need.

    As for my employees, if they decide to stay and work while eating I'm not going to stop them but they often take their hour. Sometimes I will let them leave an hour early if they need to and not necessarily forgo lunch but move it to 4 pm.
    @GigCityPlanner

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Our whole office is closed from 12-1 so I pretty much take that time. Even with the walk home, taking the dogs out, coming back home to eat, then coming back into work, I rarely use the entire period.

    I suppose if I worked through lucn and left an hour early, I could do that, but I have never asked.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    I rarely take an hour. But I don't generally take it as comp that same day either. I am salaried so I just use it when I need a few hours here and there. So I guess I have it pretty easy.
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Our offices used to close from 12-1, but there were a couple complaints from people who could "only come here at lunch." The front counter staff staggers their lunch so that the counter is covered, but professional staff can come and go as they please. The bossman takes an hour and a half for lunch and then stays til 5:30. I generally take 30 to 45 minutes and get to RJ on Friday or Wednesday (is that still considered to be an RJ?).
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I generally take my hour because i go home and see my daughter or have lunch with my wife when she is in daycare. Before i was married, i would generally take about 45 minute lunch.

    However, due to California's strict laws, our breaks our mandated, thus every time card period we have to sign something to the fact that we "took our mandated minimum 30 minute lunch unpaid for this time paid (an hour is granted)." If we checkmark no, then we get compensated for at least the 30 minutes that we missed with an explanation and signature from a manger (applies only to non-salary employees). I know none of us planners have ever marked that. If i sandbag a lunch, i either leave early or come in late some other day of the week or just charge ot.
    follow me on the twitter @rcplans

  11. #11
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Man, I need that hour break. I like to use it to take a walk four days a week. I can get a little needed exercise and de-stress.

    One of the planners does not take a lunch break and comes in late and leaves early. The rest of us take ours. Each planner is expected to do one noon-hour of counter duty. Mine is Monday and that day I usually work through lunch, because I get in late because of a weekly meeting before work.

    Right now I am trying to build up some comp time - I have scheduled a vacation next month and am about a day short on annual leave.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plus Salmissra's avatar
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    We're supposed to take the 1 hour between the hours of 11 - 2. Between the bossman and 2 planners, someone should be here to man the counter. The office staff staggers lunch, but a planner is expected to be here. I try to bring lunch 4 days a week, and I read a book or magazine with my headphones drowning out the rest of the crowd in the lunchroom. Some days I eat with one of my coworkers, so no headphones then. I think it's important to get away from the desk for more than just a potty break, to keep the brain from turning to mush, and keep the blood flowing.

    If you plan in advance, you can flex the lunch to leave early one day. Boss must agree to general idea ahead of time, but he's not a minute-for-minute time nazi. He needs to know for coverage, and also docket reviews, etc. He doesn't allow the planners to flex every day, which is fine with me, because I carpool.
    "We do not need any other Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures. We need context. We need understanding. We need knowledge of historical events to tie them together. We don't know much. Of course we know a lot, but it is context that's missing, not treasures." - Werner Herzog, in Archaeology, March/April 2011

  13. #13
    Cyburbian RandomPlanner's avatar
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    I end up often taking my lunch late (today at 215) or eating at my desk while covering the phones and the front desk. Somehow, the two admin folks feel the need to take lunch (3-4x/week) at the same time and get annoyed when I say I can't cover the phones. [Somedays, I find site visits that just have to be done between 11 and 2.]

    I can't complain too much though. Our office doesn't officially have flex time but we basically have that same freedom. When I need to leave early, I just come in early that day (SUCH a good deal!).
    How do I know you are who you think you are?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    I take the full hour. When I first started this job, I commuted from home (lived with parents) so I had my lunch at my desk (although a lot of times my boss would come in with things he needed NOW during my lunch break). Ever since I moved closer to work (always within walking distance) I make sure to get the heck out of the office for the hour and deal with whatever when I come back (has worked out just fine).

    Although I might be paying bills, going for a hike on the trail nearby or the run the track at the gym (I tend to nibble on stuff throughout the day anyway so I don't always eat at 12 noon).

    Any place that doesn't give a full hour for lunch is ridiculous.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Talking with HR people, I have heard of work places where the doors remain locked until 5 minutes before work begins. Mandatoray one hour lunches do not surprise me. It goes back to a disgruntled former employee somewhere suing for unpaid overtime...and winning. As for this salaried only planner in the office, what is a lunch HOUR?
    Last edited by mike gurnee; 09 Jun 2008 at 5:57 PM. Reason: just cause

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    This is part of my "disillusioned" planner thing: you work, salaried, 20 hrs overtime for weeks at a time, and you still have to take an hour off on "personal time" to go to the doctor. More common that you think, obviously. I once had a tick adhered to my thigh from a camping trip and waited until Saturday to call the doctor because god forbid, I should lose vacation time to have it yanked. Or.... you put in for a day off, and a hurricane hits. The whole county staff gets the day off "for free" (well, unless their house is destroyed...) but they still take 8 hrs out of your vacation time. Everybody in Planning doesn't just get to come and go as they please. Some employers are real hard-asses. I'm 51 and every county employer I've had here had been equally hard assed.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    My employer really does not worry about lunch hours or breaks. Now if you were seen as abusing this I am sure that they would put you in line. However, most folks here are paid for 37.5 hours but work considerably longer than that.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    We're flexible here on the panhandle. We have at least two people here at all times. I go in early (at work by 6:30), work thru the lunch hour (unless I make a run to Sam's Clube to jug up or ZG meets me for lunch), and leave early on Fridays. Funny, I normally receive more telephone calls from the locals between 12 noon and 1 than any other time of the day. They know I'm there, available, and not in meetings.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  19. #19
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    The secretary and I usually switch off bringing lunch in from home since there isn't anything particularly good or affordable where we are. Dragon lady doesn't care when or if we take lunch as long as there is someone in the office from 8:30-5:00 at all times. We rarely take an hour for lunch.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  20. #20
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    What is this lunch hour you speak of?

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Big Owl's avatar
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    we get an hour for lunch... the only one that has a scheduled lunch break is the administrative assistant. it helps us schedule work, meetings, and such, and she likes it so it's a win/win. The rest of us takes an hour between 11 and 3, most days.

    As far as flexing as long as it's not a habit, it's mentioned as early as possible, and work gets done... it's not a problem.

    As for me i try to be as flexible as possible as i go home and play guitar hero and can do that when ever

  22. #22
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I make sure my staff takes their lunch because they need a break from this place! We only have 2 people out in the front desk area so they switch to go on their lunch break - I do tell them I should not be counted on to do lunch coverage except for vacations and illness - my manager does not like to see me out there too much - secretly I love it when I get to be out there, it's a nice break for me, but I still screw up the electric permit process - lol

    if someone is fixing to leave early during a pay period, I do allow them to work through their lunchtime because 2 weeks vacation is all they get and it goes fast so I try to help that way - both my admin and the entry level planner are on a time clock (which I can't do anything about changing though I hate it, I think it's demeaning) so it's hard to allow for cutting out early

  23. #23
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    Here at the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and parks we get a 1/2hour plus 2 twenty minute breaks. They do not allow you to combine the breaks with lunch but are not nazis about it.
    Looking for Sanity
    In this Crazy Land Of Ours

  24. #24
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    we don't get paid for lunch.. and it is supposed to be an hour break between 12:00 and 2:00. It is better when you work in a city and can really doing things in walking distance. I used to work for a small town,,,and there was nothing close by without getting in your car.
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  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I eat at my desk and catch up on work during lunch. For staff, I have staggered some people's schedulaes so they can work 8:30 to 5 with only a 1/2 lunch. I never complain if people take less than 1 hr for their lunch time, but do not encourage it either.
    Satellite City Enabler

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