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Lunch Breaks

Upon discovery of an employee NOT taking 20 minute lunch breaks, must the employer retroactively pay the employee? We have an hourly employee who has been taking 15 minute lunch breaks.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes guidelines for compensable work time.

Under the FLSA, short breaks lasting less than twenty minutes in duration must be compensated.

Meal periods typically lasting thirty minutes serve a different purpose than short breaks and are not time required to be compensated. However, employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during meal periods. If an employee does any work during his meal period the time must be compensated.

Thus, a non-exempt employee taking only a 15 minute break must be compensated for such time. Since you’re now aware of the issue, it’s your responsibility to appropriately compensate the employee for his past time worked. Not doing so constitutes a willful violation of the FLSA.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 at 8:25 pm and is filed under
Compensation, Labor Laws.
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