manager holding tablet in front of blurred kitchen staff (l) man pointing to watch in front of white background (c) hand clocking back in to work (r)

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‘So he doesn’t have to pay overtime’: Restaurant manager forces workers to take 2-hour unpaid breaks, then clock back in. He won’t let them leave

‘I gotta stay, you gotta pay.’


Phil West


A worker at a family-owned restaurant shared that their manager is having people take two-hour unpaid breaks six hours into their respective shifts. The catch? Workers can’t leave the premises during that time. 

The Redditor sharing that story, @ahnunandamouse, posted to the r/antiwork subreddit on Tuesday. At the beginning of their post, the worker clarified that their manager does this “so he doesn’t have to pay overtime.” As of Wednesday morning, the post garnered more than 2,700 upvotes.

“I work at a family-owned restaurant. Two people recently quit so there… has been scheduling issues,” the story began. “This past weekend my manager [had] two of the cashier/food runners work 6 hours, take a 2 hour unpaid break then clock back in for 2 hours. He loudly told them that they cannot leave and go home so they just sit around until they can clock back in. He has the cooks do the same thing. I think this is ridiculous. Thoughts?”

Viewers gave their unfiltered opinions. 

“Ummm….. Leave if you can. Or threaten to lawyer up with the other cooks,” one user advised. “That’s ridiculous and probably not even legal.”

“When you’re required to be there, it’s required to be paid,” another quipped.

A third commenter put it more bluntly: “I gotta stay, you gotta pay.”

Others, meanwhile, gave their advice on what the worker could do about the shift splitting. While shift splits are legal, according to various Redditors, one reader noted that “not allowing you to leave the premises while not on the clock is not okay.” 

A split shift involves splitting up an employee’s workday into a few parts with unpaid time in-between. It’s still technically considered one workday, but the hours are split haphazardly. The worker or employer determine how long the break is.

For split shifts to be legal, though, the interval between work chunks has to be at least two hours or longer. Lunch breaks don’t count. “It’s got to be free time, separate from any meal breaks your team gets,” Hourly reported. “This is what separates a split shift from your everyday work schedule. It’s all about how you slice and dice the workday while keeping within the rules.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to @ahnunandamouse via Reddit comment.

The Daily Dot