Lunch Break Laws In Ontario – Know Your Rights

The Ontario Employment Standards Act (ESA) requires that all employees be granted one 30-minute meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. This means your employer can’t force you to eat at your desk or work through the break.

You’re entitled to use the 30-minute break however you want. You can eat lunch, make phone calls, go for a walk, socialize or do a quick errand. If you work a ten-hour shift, you are entitled to a second 30-minute break.

My co-workers get extra breaks. Am I entitled to get more breaks too?

If your co-workers are getting extra breaks, you should get them too. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) of Ontario sets the bare minimum amount of break time employers are required to provide. If your colleagues are offered regular additional work breaks, you may be entitled to the same. Your employer can offer different breaks or paid breaks, it’s up to them.

What if I don’t want a 30 minute lunch break?

This is up to you. However, Ontario requires employers to give you 30 minutes off for every 5 hours worked. If you would like two 15 minute breaks, ask your employer. As long as you are provided 30 minutes of uninterrupted break time every 5 work hours, you and your employer can agree on a method that works best for you.

Do I get a coffee break?

The ESA does not require an employer to provide any breaks in addition to eating periods. However, if the employer does provide another type of a break, such as a coffee break, and the employee must remain at his or her workplace during the break, this time is considered to be working time under the ESA.

Is it illegal to not get a lunch break at work in Ontario?

Yes, according to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) of Ontario, a company must provide an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes to an employee for every five hours of consecutive work. If the organization needs the employee to remain available during their break, they must pay them for their break period.

Monkhouse Law Employment Lawyers is a Toronto law firm specializing in employment law. If your employer is violating your right to receive a break, book a free 30 minute consultation today. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form.

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