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Brief breaks from work tend to benefit both employers and employees. The ability to briefly get away from work responsibilities allows employees to relax or catch up on personal responsibilities. This downtime can help an employee focus at work and be more productive. Employees who are more productive help a company's bottom line. Everybody wins when an employer offers paid work breaks.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) creates specific standards to protect employees in the workplace, and an increasing number of wage and hour claims have been filed in recent years. It is in an employer's best interest to protect a company from liability by understanding and complying with the FLSA and other state and federal employment laws.
The issue of pay during break times has caused much confusion in the workplace. Neither the FLSA nor Georgia law requires employers to offer paid breaks, but many employers and employees are not clear on break-related requirements under the law. If you have questions related to wage and hour issues, contact Parks, Chesin & Walbert.The FLSA and Deducted Breaks
Although the FLSA does not require that employers provide their employees with breaks, it does require employers to compensate workers for short periods of time (generally less than 20 minutes) even if they are not actively working. An employer does not have to compensate an employee for meal periods of 30 minutes or longer, as long as the employee is not required to work during the break.
For a break to be unpaid, the employee must be free of responsibility from performing any job functions during that time. If a supervisor requires the employee to answer phones or perform other work tasks during a lunch break, the employee should be paid for that break.Georgia Employment Law
In some states, the law requires an employee to earn a paid 15-minute break for each four hours worked at the job. Georgia law does not contain this requirement. However, a Georgia employer may not dock pay for any breaks an employee takes that are less than 20 minutes.
Many Georgia employers do provide breaks and meal periods for their employees. However, these privileges are discretionary. Generally, in Georgia, employers are not required to pay employees during an employee's break time, as long as the employee is not required to perform work during this time.Parks, Chesin & Walbert Can Help
If you have concerns about wage theft or break time in the workplace, Parks, Chesin & Walbert can help you understand your rights. Attorneys at Parks, Chesin & Walbert are knowledgeable about Georgia law and the FLSA. We represent both employers and workers in matters related to labor and employment law.
Call Parks, Chesin & Walbert today at 877-986-5529 to schedule a consultation.