Meal & Rest Breaks

Meal and Rest Breaks Under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Atlanta overtime attorneys, Martin & Martin, regularly receive questions from individuals about the law with respect to meal and rest breaks. In Georgia, there are no laws that require that an employer provide an employee with meal and rest breaks. Additionally, the federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), does not require meal and rest breaks for employees. However, the FLSA does require payment during meal and rest breaks under certain conditions.

First, under the FLSA, employers are not required to pay employees for “bona fide meal periods.” A bona fide meal period is ordinarily at least 30 minutes long although under special conditions, a shorter period of time is enough. The employee must be “completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals.” This means that the employer cannot require the employee to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating. For example, a worker who eats at their desk to continue working is not relieved from duties. Or, a worker who drives a delivery truck, is not relieved of their duties when they go through a drive through and eat their meal while continuing to drive to their next destination. If an employee works through their meal period, the employer must pay them for that time.

Second, the federal regulations state that rest periods of short duration, running from five minutes to about 20 minutes are not only common but promote efficient of the employee. Breaks of these durations must be paid.

The FLSA meal and rest period wage Atlanta overtime attorneys, Kimberly Martin and Tom Martin, have handle many cases where the employer sets its time clock to automatically clock out employees one hour for lunch regardless of whether the employee took lunch or where the employee was forced to continue working during their lunch break. They recover unpaid wages for this automatic deduction along with liquidated damages (also known as “double damages”), and attorney’s fees and litigation costs. If you work through your meal breaks or your employer deducts time for short breaks, you are entitled to recovery of unpaid wages for this time. Additionally, the Court will award you liquidated damages and your attorney’s fees and costs.

Atlanta meal and rest break wage attorneys welcome the opportunity to provide you a free consultation to discuss your meal and rest breaks and determine whether you are entitled to unpaid wages. Overtime attorneys in Atlanta, Kimberly Martin and Tom Martin, welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and represent you if you are owed unpaid wages. They are usually available for a same day consultation via Contact Us or call firm directly.