These are not mandated under the law, the FLSA leaves the decision to give an employee rest or meal breaks with the employer. However, if the employer ultimately decides to provide such breaks to employees, the FLSA provides strict rules that must be followed by all employers. These typically include a ten minute rest break for every four hours that are put in by the employee and/or a thirty minute meal break for every five hours that are worked. The employer has the right to decide which intervals are permitted while an employee has the right to seek out smart legal help if that worker believes that his or her rights under the FLSA are being violated with respect to rest and meal breaks.
Any employer who has designated rest breaks for his or her employees has agreed to compensate them for their time while they are taking such breaks. This is true even if the employee is not actually putting in any work. After all, this is a break from work so, naturally, the employee would not be completing tasks or assignments for the company.
Nonetheless, the employee has the right, under the FLSA, to receive compensation during a designated break in the same fashion as if it were during normal business hours. Since the employer has previously agreed to pay this compensation, he or she must comply with the FLSA in providing it. The employer is only expected to pay for the time that the company has designated for break time. If the employer offers 15 minute breaks and the employee is gone for a half hour, the employee is only expected to be paid for that 15 minutes and not the additional time that was taken on the break.