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  • You receive breaks of 20 minutes or less but don’t get paid for them
  • You receive breaks of 20 minutes or more, and don’t get paid for them, but you still perform work during the break
  • You have an unpaid lunch break, but you have to be at your job performing work during your break
  • Your employer takes lunch breaks out of your wages even though you rarely take a lunch.

The Fair Labor Standards Act does not require employers to provide breaks to their employees. However if your company does provide rest and meal periods, in many situations, they should pay you for that time. 

Under the FLSA, companies should generally pay their employees for rest periods under 20 minutes. Likewise, rest periods over 20 minutes should be paid for where the employee is not fully able to be work-free. If you are not relieved from your work during your break and get called to perform work-related activities, you may have a right to payment for that time.

Lunch breaks are generally not compensable. Again though, if you are required to be at your desk, or perform work-related activities, you aren’t fully relieved. This means that your company may have to pay you for your lunch break.

It is also illegal for your employer to deduct lunch periods when you don’t take a lunch. Some companies have difficulty tracking employees’ lunch periods, and automatically deduct 30 minutes or more from an employee’s work day. If the employee did not actually take a lunch, this is illegal under the FLSA.

Not Paying for Breaks and Meal Times

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