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What Workers Should Know About Meal Breaks Part 2

As we discussed in the first part of this two-part article, neither the State of Florida nor the federal government require employers to provide meal breaks for their employees that are over the age of 17. Of course, most employers allow their employees to have these breaks to ensure their workplace remains positive and productive.

There are many ways that employers can manipulate these laws in their favor without employers even knowing. In some cases, this means that instead of receiving overtime pay, you are not compensated for time worked because it was counted as part of your “meal period.” If you are interested in discussing wage and hour laws with a legal expert, contact an unpaid overtime lawyer in Tampa today.

Other Break Time Scenarios

Although meal breaks are the most common type of break, there are many other times that an employee may or may not be compensated while on a break depending on the scenario. For example, paramedics and firefighters may be on-site “working” during hours they are asleep in the station. Many sales positions require a lot of traveling. Some jobs, like limousine drivers, include a lot of time waiting for a client.

Here are some more specifics for each one of these gray areas:

  • Sleeping: Sleeping time while “working” depends largely on how many consecutive hours you are on call and whether or not there is a designated sleeping area provided for you. For less than 24 hours, sleeping time should be compensated. If you work over 24 straight hours, no more than eight hours should be deducted from a day. Further, you must be provided with sleeping quarters and allowed at least five consecutive hours of uninterrupted rest time for pay to be deducted.
  • Traveling: Traveling before and after work is not considered paid time. However, if your job requires you to travel during your shift to perform your work, this time should be compensated.
  • Waiting: Waiting time is a gray area of the law that generally comes down to whether or not the employee has the freedom to leave or is required to be waiting in order to perform their tasks.

Exempt Employees

Employees that are exempt from overtime should be compensated for all their breaks. Because the employee’s paycheck is consistent every week, they should be paid the exact same every pay period. Of course, if the employee is taking excessively long lunches or is often out of the office, their paid time off may be docked. However, in many cases, an employee is misclassified as exempt from overtime when they shouldn’t be.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our unpaid overtime lawyers in Tampa, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.