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Workers Deserve A Break

Legislation proposed by Rep. Kristine Howard, D-Chester, giving workers a 30-minute break after five hours of work makes too much sense not to pass the General Assembly.

We’re a little disappointed to see so little Republican support for the bill, which thus far has garnered co-sponsorship from several Democrats.

The legislation doesn’t apply to police and fire departments, public ambulance or EMS providers. The 30-minute break wouldn’t count toward an employee’s work day. Additionally, no employer would be allowed to require an employee to remain in a workroom or at their work station during a meal or rest period. If a strict application of the 30-minute break puts an unnecessary hardship on the employer or employee, the state Secretary of Labor and Industry may grant an exception.

We’re sure many employers in our state are giving workers meal breaks without being told to because those employers know it is the right thing to do. For those businesses there would be no change from their status quo. In our view, Howard’s legislation should be approved on account of those businesses that aren’t giving employees time to eat a meal in peace.

Pennsylvania is one of 29 states with no required meal period for employees. It should remove itself from that list.

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