The 40-hour week includes lunch

Lunch break - interruption of work hours to eat

Basically are Breaks important to rest, to recharge your energy reserves and to be able to work again with a relaxed mind and body. Here is the lunch break especially important for many employees. Because it is not only used for food intake, but also for social interaction with colleagues.

Is the lunch break Part of the working time? Does she have to hardened and tempered become? And what law regulates the minimum length of an appropriate lunch break at all?

In a nutshell: lunch break

Is the lunch break compulsory?

According to current labor law, the lunch break is compulsory. After all, it is to be regarded as a break in accordance with Section 4 of the Working Time Act (ArbZG).

How long does the lunch break have to be?

If the working time is more than six hours, the lunch break must be at least 30 minutes. However, it can be divided into two blocks of 15 minutes each. If you work longer than nine hours, the lunch break must last 45 minutes.

Does the lunch break have to be remunerated?

Since the lunch break is not part of the working time, no remuneration is usually paid during this time.

Find out in the following guide whether you are an employee always have to take a lunch break and to what extent you are insured during this time are.

Lunch break - which legal regulations apply?

Basically it is Lunch break as a break according to labor law to understand. There are no special regulations in this regard. The lunch break is therefore also defined by the Working Hours Act (ArbZG). Here is ยง 4 ArbZG crucial.

This means that the work is supported by a predetermined rest period from at least 30 minutes is to be interrupted. This should after six hours at the latestWorking time can be done and can be divided into two 15-minute sections. If you work more than nine hours, you should take a 45-minute lunch break.

However, these regulations are only minimum requirements and can be specified or expanded, among other things by the Employer's right to issue instructions or superiors as well as through agreements in the employment contract and collective bargaining or company regulations.

Important! It is not only the employer who is required to ensure that the employee does Observes break times, even the employee himself must take a lunch break after six hours at the latest, according to current labor law. You are not allowed to work through to get home early. The lunch break is therefore Mandatory!

Does the lunch break count as working hours?

The lunch break is not part of the working hours. Because according to Section 2 (1) of the ArbZG the working time describes the duration of the work without the breaks. A break, and thus also the lunch break, describes an interruption in work.

This will be the lunch break not remunerated. Paid breaks According to labor law, it is only available in certain industries and thus represents one exception represent.

A lunch break will be only paid if this has been agreed separately and, above all, only when it comes to activities in which the human performance requirements are quickly impaired and the quality of the work process suffers as a result.


In addition, the employer is obliged to take the breaks to organize in advance. It's enough, one time frame determine in which the employee should take the lunch break. However, if there are specific guidelines, you must comply with them. With this, the legislature wants to ensure that employees are actually able to take the statutory lunch break.

Every employee must know before starting workwhen the breaks are. If only a time window has been set, you can design the break yourself within the limits.

Work accident during lunch break

In addition to the question about the lunch break from when to when this applies, for many employees it is crucial whether it insured during this break and what about an accident at work during this time.

Basically - this will reassure many - it works statutory accident insurance also during the lunch break. However, there are a few things to consider in this regard. Because it is crucial where you go and what you do during this time.

At the specific time of the accident it is crucial whether you are familiar with the Food intake motivation were on the way. Place and time of the accident have to in connection with the activity stand. That is, usually is a Accident on the way to work during the lunch break insured. Not staying in the restaurant or the canteen itself.

Deal with during the break other things, you are on your lunch break in the event of an accident at worknot insurednot even if you were on your way to eating. When in doubt, insurers will look closely Time expenditure and distance watch.

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Lunch break - interruption of work hours to eat
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