How uncommon is longer than an hour paid lunch? Would it be unwise to try to negotiate for an hour paid lunch after being offered a white collar job?

For example, I am an electrical engineer with experience in the US.

  • This does not appear to be a good fit for the format. It's asking for personal responses, and this is not a site about collecting a gaggle of personal responses.
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 2 at 18:46
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    Edited in an attempt to be more suitable.
    – adamaero
    Jul 2 at 18:48
  • This is... better, but still needs work. In particular, it's kind of hopelessly broad. Why are you asking this? If you are talking about your own personal situation, answers are going to depend heavily on things like what role you're in, what industry you're in, and what country you're in.
    – Ben Barden
    Jul 2 at 18:50
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    You man, all over the world? Well, I am sure no one reduces Putins pay for taking an hour lunch break - and president of a major country DOES fit "an occupation". Please least tie it down to, you know, job type and... ah, jurisdiction.
    – TomTom
    Jul 2 at 18:56
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    Why? I want to know if it's reasonable to negotiate when offered a job from a new company. I may want to negotiate an hour lunch rather than a higher salary for example. I'm not set on either, just open to the idea.
    – adamaero
    Jul 2 at 18:58

You're focusing on the wrong thing - and if you pursue this angle, it's going to look a bit bad from the other side of the table.

Generally, there are three types of jobs:

  • Salaried - where you get paid the same regardless of the number of hours of work you put in. "Paid Lunch' is meaningless here. You get paid the same whether or not you eat a 2 hour lunch or work straight through it.
  • Per Output - where you get paid based on what you produce. Whether it's getting paid $10 per cosmetic skin you make for Minecraft or a set payment of $2000 for producing a basic eCommerce site. "Paid Lunch" is meaningless here, too, because you're getting paid based on your output.
  • Per Hour - where you get paid for each hour you work

"Paid Lunch" only is relevant in the third. But... it's misleading. The person paying you doesn't care about your lunch. If you're putting in 8 hours of work in the day, they don't really care whether you worked 7-3 with no lunch break, or 7-5 with a two-hour siesta. They're paying for the 8 hours of labor.

So why would someone offer "paid lunch" then?

  • They're actually not. Instead, they're simply diluting down the hourly rate so that the '9' hours will still work out to be the same as what they'd pay you for 8. It sounds softer ("Paid Lunch Hour!") ... but it's all just marketing/spin on a regular hourly job. And, well, it's actually in your interest to not have them do this. Because if you're paid for the straight 8 hours, you have more freedom to skip lunch, or work a longer lunch, or whatever.
  • They're wanting you to feel obligated or a bit on-the-hook for sneaking in work during the lunch itself.

I'm going to steal some tidbits from adamaero's excellent answer:

Housekeepers are scheduled to work 7.5 hours/day ... Monday-Friday, 7:00am to 3:00pm (with a 1 hour paid lunch)

... and ...

Groundskeepers are scheduled to work 7.5 hours/day ... Monday - Friday, 6:30am to 2:30pm (with a 1 hour paid lunch)

Notice something? They both say "You'll work 7.5 hours per day", both have a window of time you'll be there for 8 hours, and both offer a '1 hour paid lunch'.

But the math doesn't work out. If you're there for 8 hours, you get 1 hour per day for lunch, then you're only working 7 hours, not 7.5

They inadvertently tell you something: they expect you to be working a bit during that lunch hour, or picking up a bit of extra time here and there.

So, all that said, why is focusing on this counter-productive?

Because it's only relevant to an hourly employer. And an hourly employer isn't going to want to hear: "I also want to be paid for X and Y, when I won't be working."

Especially when you actually have control over this anyways without asking for "pay without work." If you want to earn $20/hour for an 8-hour day as well as over a 1 hour lunch, then the solution is simple: your minimum hourly wage is $22.50 ($20 x 9 / 8). You then are effectively earning $20/hour with a paid hour lunch.

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    I'm salaried, and I still punch in/out. So it is relevant to some jobs that are not technically paid hourly.
    – adamaero
    Jul 2 at 19:40
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    @adamaero - just of curiosity, is that for timetracking purposes? I had a timecard at an old salaried job, but that was mostly so the boss could make sure someone wasn't putting in 35 hour weeks instead of 40. It didn't impact pay, and it didn't matter how long my lunch was (as long as I was punched in for 8 hours)
    – Kevin
    Jul 2 at 19:42
  • @adamaero - I might be a bit biased, but I think that companies who timecard their salaried employees are mostly just looking for a way to squeeze out a little bit more labor/time out of their workers. And it doesn't have to be at any sort of 'high level' of management. At the job I had that fell in this category, it was our boss that was using these timecards and using verbal pressure to have us put in 40+ per week. So it could be, at your company, your two bosses are handling the timecards differently, with different hours-worked expectations?
    – Kevin
    Jul 2 at 19:52

Here is a listing for an 8-hour blue-collar job, but it seems to be worked in with the outside of regular work hours:

Groundskeepers are scheduled to work 7.5 hours/day, 37.5 hours per week. The schedule for this role is:

  • Monday - Friday, 6:30am to 2:30pm (with a 1 hour paid lunch)

As a condition of employment in this position, the incumbent will be subject to call in outside of regular hours in order to respond to emergencies, including the preparation and maintenance of College facilities, grounds, systems and services during inclement weather crises.

*Works overtime, special events and weekends may be required as needed.



Housekeepers are scheduled to work 7.5 hours/day, 37.5 hours per week. The schedule for this role is:

  • Monday-Friday, 7:00am to 3:00pm (with a 1 hour paid lunch)

" "


White-collar, self-reported, but does not account if longer hours were worked during the day/week:

Weekends off and hour paid lunch breaks.


Based on this little information, I would conclude that any company offering an hour lunch or more is unpaid. It may be an exceptional benefit to ask for an hour paid lunch during a negotiation. This may lower negotiable salary. Additionally, if working closely with others, it may hurt fellow employee morale and may negatively impact peer work relationships.

  • +1, excellent answer; hope you don't mind if I piggybacked off some of the info in your answer (the sneaky timing info in both those examples.)
    – Kevin
    Jul 2 at 19:38

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