HR Home Forums Private Meal Break – Alberta

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  • Susan Sealey
    Post count: 1

    We have an hourly employee in Albert working 8 hours per day who doesn’t want to take meal breaks. They find them stressful and is highly upset that we are requiring him to take a 30-minute break. Please note, he can take it whenever it fits into his schedule; we do not require it at a certain time.

    Can the employee sign a document confirming that we encourage and provide meal breaks, but it is their decision to not take one?

    Thank you in advance!


    Rick Tobin
    Post count: 58

    In Canada, the rules regarding breaks during work hours, including the possibility of abstaining from taking breaks, vary by province or territory, as labor laws are primarily a provincial matter. Generally, labor standards mandate certain rest periods and breaks for employees, but the specifics can differ.

    For instance:

    Ontario: Employees are entitled to a 30-minute meal break after every 5 hours of work. However, this break can be unpaid, and if both the employer and employee agree, it can be split into two 15-minute breaks.

    British Columbia: Workers must receive a 30-minute meal break after working 5 hours. This break may be waived with a mutual agreement if the shift is no longer than 6 hours.

    Alberta: Employees must have at least a 30-minute break (paid or unpaid) every 5 hours.

    Quebec: Employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break after 5 consecutive hours of work.

    In many cases, the law allows for some flexibility if both the employer and employee agree. However, it’s important for employees to be aware of their rights and for employers to adhere to the minimum standards set by law. If an employee chooses to skip their breaks, it should be a voluntary decision and not due to employer pressure.

    HR Insider Staff

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