The attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau are here to help the people of Central Florida in their time of legal need. This includes legal representation in personal injury and wrongful death cases, as well as assistance with employment law and workplace discrimination complaints.
The team at our Daytona Beach, FL office would like to focus on breaks and meals while on the job. The state of Florida and the federal government have few laws mandating meals and breaks, but that doesn’t mean that employers can mistreat or overwork their employees.
Florida Laws on Breaks and Meals
The only state specific break or meal law in Florida applies to employees under the age of 18. Minors are entitled to a meal break of 30 minutes for every 4 hours of continuous work.
Since there are no other Florida-specific meal and break rules, the federal laws are followed regarding compensation regarding meals and breaks. Let’s cover these federal statutes individually below.
Are There Federal Meal and Break Laws?
The federal government does not have any specific laws that guarantee meal and break periods to employees. However, it does note that employees must be compensated for the work that they do via the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
For breaks that are 20 minutes or shorter (“coffee breaks”), employees should be compensated as this is considered part of the regular work day. Meals are typically 30 minutes or longer, and the Department of Labor feels that these longer break periods do not need to be compensated as they serve a different function than shorter breaks.
What If I am Denied Breaks and Meals?
While your employer may not be required by law to offer meals and breaks, they should be allow employees to visit the restroom when needed and have time to eat, especially for longer work days.
Most companies will have their own meal and break policies that should be adhered to. When companies violate their own meal and break policies, this should be brought up to supervisors to ensure standards that are set are followed.
Disputes Over Paid and Unpaid Breaks
Another issue to consider regarding meals and breaks is compensation. As we noted above, shorter coffee breaks are compensated as they help contribute to employee productivity. Some employees may attempt to make these short breaks unpaid, which is unacceptable.
Similarly, if an employee works through their meal break or lunch break, they should be paid for the time that they worked. Remaining productive while you are on a break should never be acceptable, and employees are entitled to be compensated for the time that they are working.
How Our Attorneys Can Help
If your employer has been denying you breaks or meals, or if they have been attempting to cut your wages by making short breaks unpaid, our attorneys are here to hold them accountable. We will fight diligently to ensure your rights to fair compensation are respected, and make sure the employers adheres to their own rules regarding meals and breaks.
Our goal is to help you receive therapy that you are owed, and to ensure companies do not continue to take advantage of employees in such an egregious and unacceptable manner.
Learn More About Your Rights at Work
For more information about your legal rights and options after you’ve been denied breaks or meals on the job, be sure to contact an experienced workplace and employment law attorney. The lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau can be reached by phone at (866) 610-0653.