I have a company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Am I required to give all employees breaks and/or lunches throughout the day? If so, what are the requirements?
The best practice in HR is to give employees an unpaid meal break of 30 minutes or more, and two paid 10 or 15 minute rest breaks, in an 8 hour shift. Usually the rest breaks would occur at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. A number of studies have shown that employees who receive such breaks are more productive than employees who receive no breaks. In other words, the employees will accomplish more, at a lower cost to the employer, if they are given these breaks.
However, there is no federal or Louisiana law that requires employers to give meal or rest breaks to workers over the age of 18. Nineteen U.S. states have break laws that require unpaid meal breaks for virtually all employees. Eight of those states also require 10 or 15 minute paid rest breaks during the day. But Louisiana has no meal or rest break laws.
Under the federal FLSA or Fair Labor Standards Act, an employee need not be paid for a meal break of 20 minutes or more, when the employee is relieved of all duties. This is true, even if the employee is required to remain on the premises for the break. However, different rules apply to shorter rest breaks. Employees must be paid for any break that is less than 20 minutes, under this federal law.
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