Lunch breaks could become mandatory in Maryland.

The state House is considering a bill requiring that employers give 30-minute meal breaks for every shift of five hours or longer. Health care workers would be exempt, as would workers who agreed in writing to a different arrangement.

Last fall, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis was ordered to pay some workers at its officers' club up to three years of back pay for missed lunch breaks. Those workers were asked to work through lunch, even though they were not paid for the time.

The bill pending in the state capital would also require employers provide a "suitable place for employees to eat."

The bill is up for discussion today in the House Economic Matters Committee.