In a working day of the standard eight-hour duration, breaks are provided by law for employees. Not only that: they are also regulated by national collective bargaining agreements, with respect to the relevant occupational categories, and by the internal codes of enterprises. But how many breaks in eight hours of work are allowed? How can one regulate? What can be premised is that there is no one-size-fits-all rule. And it should be specified right away that yes, the 8 hours of work includes the lunch break. Temporary work breaks are essential to allow the worker to recover energy and, indeed, to eat a meal.
Number and duration of breaks during working hours
The question of how many breaks in 8 hours of work are allowed can be answered by starting from the type of professional activity performed by a job. Indeed, in some cases, there are obligations for health and safety issues:
– for professional drivers there must be a 45-minute break every 4 1/2 hours of driving;
– video screeners must take a mandatory work break a quarter of an hour for every 120 minutes spent in front of the monitor
In case the national labor contract, for one’s own category, does not provide specific guidance on breaks during working hours, with respect to the number and duration, Article 8 of Legislative Decree No. 66 of 2023 applies. What is established by law is that a worker with a shift of 6 or more hours is entitled to a minimum break of not less than 10 minutes.
The employer may not eliminate it or reduce its duration, but may provide more breaks and/or a duration of more than 10 minutes.
The lunch break is included in working hours.
Beyond the breaks made allowance in collective agreements and individual company regulations (which must, however, adhere to the current, broader regulatory provisions), the worker must be able to be absent for short minutes to drink a glass of water at the company dispenser, for example, to have a coffee on the fly at the vending machine on his or her floor or in the company cafeteria, or even to go to the toilet or make an urgent personal phone call. Much is up to the individual’s common sense, both on the side of employees (who should not take advantage of it) and on the side of bosses (who should understand certain needs, when they are real, distinguishing them from mere time wasters).
On the other hand, with regard to lunch breaks, with or without the use of meal vouchers, once again it is the national collective bargaining agreements of labor that speak about it. The Ministry of Labor, in a circular issued in 2005, specified the employer’s obligation to grant lunch breaks included in the 8 working hours, to workers with shifts exceeding 6 hours. Workers cannot be asked not to take a break: it would be an illegal request, even in the face of a salary increase.
Work breaks and the law: what is provided for lunch?
How many breaks in 8 hours of work, then? The law sets a minimum break of 10 minutes, which the employer can increase, both in number and duration. This type of break is unpaid. With respect to work breaks law, if the working hours include four hours, a one-hour lunch break, and another four hours, only the eight hours of work are to be paid.
J-MOMO is the startup that has developed fully automated restaurants and markets that can be installed in businesses, offices, residential complexes, indoor and outdoor and anywhere there is an outlet.
The brand, based in Naples, also designs spaces with its vending machines, including vending machines that are ideal for work coffee breaks for corporate employees, frequenters of gyms or other public places, and people on the street who can buy the products they prefer without having to go to the supermarket or a corporate canteen and wait in line and without having to wait for a delivery service to deliver them.
J-MOMO realizes the entire layout by supplying the various machines with various kinds of products from well-known and historical brands. The brand also deals with other vending machines equipped with hot meals, medicines, cigarettes, books, newspapers, coffee, hot drinks and more.
Are you interested in installing a vending and vending machine for your work coffee break at your business or enterprise?
Contact the team at J-MOMO.