Selecting a language will automatically trigger the translation of the page content.

Employee lunch break: what are the rules?

Verified 18 February 2021 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

Covid-19: local or restore location

Published on : 16 Feb 2021

Between 15 February and 1to December 2021, the employer can organise meals outside the restaurant.

In order to comply with the rules of physical separation between employees, these locations can be located within the working premises (offices, workshops, for example). They must allow people to eat in conditions that protect the health and safety of their employees, which excludes premises where dangerous products are used or stored.

That is what the decree n°2021-156 of 13 february 2021 .

There is no specific requirement for the Meridian Break. However, as soon as the daily working time reaches 6 hours, the employee shall be granted a break of at least 20 consecutive minutes. The employer provides a place to eat. Lunch breaks are not normally remunerated as they do not constitute actual working time. Of treaty provisions can set a minimum lunch break time.

During his working time, the employee is at the disposal of the employer and complies with his instructions without being able to go freely to personal occupations.

However, the employer must give the employee a break at lunch.

The lunch break is traditionally the lunch time.

General case

As soon as the daily working time reaches 6 hours, the employee must benefit from a break of at least 20 minutes consecutive.

The break shall be granted either immediately after 6 hours of work or before the 6 hours have been fully elapsed.

A company or establishment agreement or agreement may set a higher break time.

The lunch break is part of the legal break time. The law does not provide for a lunch break. The restore period must be taken on the daily break time. The employer is therefore entitled to only allow 20 minutes of rest time per day.

In practice, a longer cut-off is usually used (for example, a minimum of 45 minutes of lunch break).

The employee may be forced to remain in the workplace during the lunch break.

Employee under 18

An employee under 18 years of age must be given a break of at least 30 minutes after an uninterrupted period of 4 hours 30.

The lunch break is part of the legal break time. The law does not provide for a lunch break. The restore period must be taken on the daily break time. The employer is therefore entitled to only allow 20 minutes of rest time per day.

In practice, a longer cut-off is usually used (for example, a minimum of 45 minutes of lunch break).

The employee may be forced to remain in the workplace during the lunch break.

It is generally forbidden for employees to eat meals in work premises.

Depending on the number of employees wishing to take their lunch break in the company, a restaurant can be set up.

Less than 50 employees

The employer provides employees with a place to eat in good health and safety conditions.

From 50 employees

The employer, after Social and Economic Committee, provides employees with a restaurant.

This room shall be equipped with the following:

  • Means of preservation or refrigeration of food and beverages
  • Installation to warm dishes
  • Drinking water tap, cool and hot, for 10 people
  • There are enough chairs and tables

After each meal, the employer must have the restaurant and its equipment cleaned.

Warning  

until now, the threshold at which a restaurant has to be made available has been set at 25 employees, with 50 since 1to January 2020. Companies with 25 employees who had a premises before that date are obliged to keep it until 31 December 2024.

During the break, the employee is not under the direction of his employer. The break is not normally remunerated, since it is not counted as a actual working time.

On the other hand, the break time must be remunerated as long as it meets the conditions of actual working time. This is particularly the case when the employee completes a directive from his employer during his break time. Example: when an employer who is waiting for a call asks an employee to watch the phone during the break. In this case, the salary is maintained and the break time is taken into account in the calculation of the remuneration.

Of treaty provisions more advantageous may apply. A company or establishment agreement or otherwise a branch agreement or agreement may provide that the break time shall be systematically remunerated. In the absence of an agreement, the applicable time-out regime may be mentioned in the employment contract.

In the company

An accident during a break taken at the workplace is considered to be work accident.

This provision also applies where the accident takes place in the premises provided for employees to eat.

Outside

If the employee is injured on the road between the place of work and the restaurant where he or she usually eats lunch, he or she will be considered to have been a victim of route accident.