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One of our employees requires intermittent 15 minute breaks under FMLA. Are we required to compensate that employee for the time spent on those breaks?

Thursday, June 7, 2018
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Provided by Ancel Glink 

Municipal Question of the Month:

One of our employees requires intermittent 15 minute breaks under FMLA. Are we required to compensate that employee for the time spent on those breaks?

Answer:

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, short employee breaks of less than 20 minutes are generally compensable time. However, a conflict arises when an employee must legitimately and lawfully take such frequent breaks, each of less than 20 minutes, that it substantially affects productivity. The Department of Labor recently helped us clarify how to resolve that conflict. In a recent opinion letter, the DOL noted that FLSA regulations and case law generally find that short rest breaks for employees “promote the efficiency of an employee” and therefore are compensable because that primarily benefits the employer. On the other hand, breaks provided pursuant to FMLA are for the primary benefit of the employee. Therefore, the DOL concluded in its Opinion Letter, an employee’s breaks pursuant to FMLA (as intermittent leave) are not compensable breaks under the FLSA, because they are provided for the primary benefit of the employee only.

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Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.

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