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Rest and Meal Breaks

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is legislation that outlines how employers are mandated to treat their employees with respect to the working arrangement under which that employee has chosen to work for a company or business. Among the many aspects of employment that can become contentious is the ability to take rest and meal breaks.

How Rest Breaks Work

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.

How Meal Breaks Work

An employer will typically allow for a thirty minute to one hour meal break. Under the FLSA, these breaks are not considered company time and the employee is totally off the clock. That employee is not working and he or she has basically gone to lunch. The employer is not expected to compensate the employee for this time

State Laws

The requirements for employers to provide their employees with rest and meal breaks vary from one state to the next. In some states, rest and/or meal breaks are designated by law with common limitations running about 10 minutes for rest and 30 minutes for meal breaks. In the state of California, employers must give workers at least one 30 minute meal break after six hours of work. The laws are somewhat different in other states with rest and/or meal breaks being provided after a certain number of hours of work with as little as four to as many as eight before a break is allowed.

Fight for your Rights

Since the FLSA has prescribed specific stipulations and statutes for employers to follow when providing breaks for employees, it’s important that workers know and understand their rights as to when they are able to take breaks and enjoy meals and when they should be compensated and when they are not entitled to that compensation.
If you believe your rights under the FLSA are being violated, you have the right to call an attorney that is well-versed in employment law so you can build a case against your employer to get the breaks and compensation you deserve. As long as your employer has agreed to grant you rest and meal breaks, he or she must comply with the FLSA to ensure that your rights are not being violated. However, not all employers will follow the rules and it’s up to you to fight back. You need a law firm on your side that knows the FLSA and understands how to apply it to your case. That firm is the Sasooness Law Group, we have been fighting employment violation cases for decades and our attorneys have the expertise, the knowledge, and experience to ensure that your rights are protected and to get you the compensation you deserve.