Everyday across America, workers are glancing at their watch waiting to take their next work break. For the average employee, company policy will allow a lunch break, as well as other smaller breaks throughout the day. A lot of workers would consider it a part of the inalienable right as a member of the United States workforce. Unfortunately, this isn’t actually the case for many.
As far as the federal government is concerned, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) only protects breastfeeding mothers of children up to one years old. For the rest of Americans, break time comes courtesy of the employer or the State. Different states have added mandatory breaks, and of the handful of states that do require employee breaks, only nine of those states have paid time off.
According to the Department of Labor Website, the nine states with paid breaks are as follows;
California, Colorado, Illinois (only certain jobs), Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada,Oregon, Vermont, and Washington respectively. Of these states, only six have a relatively standard paid break time that follows a regimen of 10 minute break time every 4 hours work period. These states are California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Illinois requires two 15 minute paid breaks for hotel attendants, while Minnesota states that employees be given “paid adequate rest” to use the nearest restroom. Vermont requires employers to give workers “reasonable Opportunities” to eat and use the bathroom.
While these are the respective states that grant paid breaks, there are a few other states that require break times, although not paid break times. Generally speaking, some states will follow the same guidelines as the federal laws, while others will use the FLSA as a starting point, and build on these rules to clarify issues that may arise. Also, certain localities will add additional rules for certain industries, as well as labor groups whose members would be granted additional rights.
for more information, visit the Department of Labor Website at http://www.dol.gov