How does German law regulate breaks during working hours? Is it true that if you work 8 hours you must take a 1 hour break? And if you work 7 hours a day, would 30 minutes be sufficient?

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Arbeitszeitgesetz (ArbZG)
§ 4 Ruhepausen
Die Arbeit ist durch im voraus feststehende Ruhepausen von mindestens 30 Minuten bei einer Arbeitszeit von mehr als sechs bis zu neun Stunden und 45 Minuten bei einer Arbeitszeit von mehr als neun Stunden insgesamt zu unterbrechen. Die Ruhepausen nach Satz 1 können in Zeitabschnitte von jeweils mindestens 15 Minuten aufgeteilt werden. Länger als sechs Stunden hintereinander dürfen Arbeitnehmer nicht ohne Ruhepause beschäftigt werden.

A rough translation in english:

Working-Time law
§4 Breaks

If you work between 6 and 9 hours, you have to take breaks of at least 30 minutes. The breaks have to be determinated in advance.
If you work more then 9 hours, you have to take at least 45 minutes breaks.
You can split your break in several breaks of at least 15 minutes.
Working more then 6 hours without a break is not allowed.

  • "Fixed" means you must know the time ahead, like "40 minute lunch from 12:10 to 12:50", and not "40 minute lunch when we are not busy". – gnasher729 Jun 21 '16 at 21:02
  • @gnasher729: fixed that part – kl78 Jun 21 '16 at 21:03
  • In addition to that, the Arbeitsvertrag can regulate longer breaks. If the contract says that your daily work time is 9 hours, of which 1 hour is the break then you have to take that one hour even though you work only 8 hours. Also note that you cannot reduce your work time and come in later or leave earlier by taking the full break at the beginning or end. – simbabque Jun 22 '16 at 12:14

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