Tl;dr: are US federal government employees required to take a 30-minute break during an 8-hour workday? If not, how do I explain to my supervisor I won’t take my break when he insists I have to?
I started a new temporary position at a (US) federal government agency. At my previous position (also US federal government), I typically worked my eight hours without taking an official break, opting to eat lunch at my desk while working. I never took any other meaningful breaks, apart from a few short 5-minute bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Today, my new supervisor questioned why I had been leaving work after “only” 8 hours, telling me I had to stay at least an additional 30 minutes to account for my “mandatory” break. When I told him of my preference of forgoing my break and working during lunch to be able to leave sooner, he told me cannot do that and that he often works through lunch too, but still stays the extra 30. This I know is illegal, if you are working during a meal period it is considered time on the clock.
My question is, is my supervisor correct? Am I forced to take this break? Follow-up question if he is NOT correct: how do I explain to my supervisor that I will NOT stay the extra time? He was very firm with me that I had to stay. I’m still new and don’t want any bad blood this early on. Thanks for reading.
Edit: Thanks all for the responses. I've decided I'll just stay the extra time for the duration of this work assignment (about 3 months) but make it clear that I will NOT be doing any kind of work during that extra time.