To pay or not to pay? When it comes to rest and meal break compensations at work, these four facts might surprise you.
In our work life, we’ve become accustomed to taking paid hour-long lunch and 10-minute rest breaks between work hours. This practice has become so commonplace that many of us might assume that employers are lawfully required to provide paid breaks. Yet, you might be surprised to find that Federal Law does not require employers to compensate for rest periods or that State Law determines if work meals and breaks should be paid.
Here are four facts about work meals and breaks that might help you determine whether your rest periods should be compensated.
Paid Breaks Impose Restrictions on Employers
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) states that employers are not obligated to provide meal breaks or rest periods for employees. In the cases where employers choose to provide them, it places restrictions on the employers. However, breaks lasting 20 minutes or less are required by Federal Law to be compensated.
Compensation is Required If You Work Through Breaks
If an employee continues to be responsible for work-related tasks during his lunch break, employers are required by Federal Law to provide compensation for his meal break.
Breaks Lasting 30 Minutes Or More are Not Required to be Paid
When an employee is relieved of all work-related duties during a break of 30 minutes or longer, the employer is not required to compensate for the rest period.
State Law Precedes Federal Law
Ultimately, requirements on work break periods follow State Law before Federal Law. For instance, California law requires multiple breaks for employees, including meal, rest and recovery, a day of rest breaks, and breaks for commission employees. Although federal law does not require employers to provide these breaks, if you live in California, your employers must allot the necessary rest periods.
In the rare case where state law is silent on rest and meal breaks, Federal Law takes to rule. Click here to review your state’s rules and regulations on rest periods and meal breaks.
In general, it is good practice to keep a detailed record of your meal and rest breaks and be mindful of your workplace’s time and attendance tracking system. For example, if you work through your lunch break and your rest periods are clocked in and out automatically, it is best to notify your employer and keep a record of the rest periods you utilize to complete work-related tasks.
Rest and meal breaks are crucial times for employees to take. When employees waive their rest periods, it could lead to a decrease in their productivity and sense of well-being.
If you believe you are experiencing unfairness in your workplace in regards to rest and meal breaks, attorneys on our platform are ready to assist you with your case. Please visit our website for more information.