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Labor Law Facts & Fiction: Part 1 – Meal Peroids & Breaks

LABOR LAW FACTS & FICTION – Part 1 of a 9-Part Series

“A Guideline for American Workers and Employers”

I talked in-depth with several field investigators at various Wages and Hours Divisions of the U.S. Department of Labor who had years of experience investigating numerous employers who violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), so here are some of the rights both employees and employers have under Federal and State Laws that may surprise you?

*Special Notation:  Employees who feel that their Labor Rights have been violated should first try to resolve the matter directly with their employer if they feel comfortable in doing so.  If this method is not successful, employees should then contact their nearest Wages and Hours Division, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or consult an Attorney….

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PART 1

MEAL PERIODS & BREAKS

Contrary to popular belief there is not any Federal Law that dictates “breaks” or “meal periods” required to be given by employers to employees.  Instead, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) decided to leave this standard up to each state to determine and govern.

Actually, the only mention in the FLSA about meal periods is that if an employer decides to offer an employee a meal period it must be at least 20-minutes duration and the employee may not perform any work during that meal period.  If the employee does perform any work or the meal period is less than 20 minutes duration then the employer may not deduct that meal period time from the employees total hours worked but instead must pay the employee for this time.

Surprisingly, there are some states that have no laws at all governing breaks or meal periods and leave it entirely up to the employer to decide.  However, an employer might have a very difficult time recruiting or retaining employees if they did not offer them any breaks or meal periods.    Employers should check their state law concerning breaks and meal periods.

Union or Collective Bargaining Agreements almost always require employers in their contracts to offer employees at least one 10 or 15 minute paid break and a 30-45 minute unpaid meal period.  These kinds of agreements usually exceed what federal or state laws require and is also the main reason many workers think that these break and meal periods are part of Federal Law when in fact they are not.  However, there are some state laws which require breaks and/or meal periods of a longer duration for workers that exceed the Federal Guidelines.

Employers and employees should duly note that in states where there are no state laws governing required employee meal periods, employers must follow the federal 20-minute minimum guideline.

Click onto link below for Work Hours, Breaks and Meal Periods, and other Information directly from U.S. Department of Labor Website. http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/breaks.htm#lawregs

View the original article at Veterans Today

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