Please note this blog post is written for employers, although we understand it may be of interest to employees as well. At this time, our firm only represents business owners and employers. If you need assistance with a legal matter as an employee, please consult a firm that represents employees.
Under Florida labor laws, breaks are not required.
However, most businesses recognize that breaks make employees more productive.
In fact, a recent study shows that the way workers structure their day affects productivity much more than the number of hours they work.
When you are building a new business, it is important to consider how you want to handle employee breaks.
You can encourage appropriate breaks and set expectations by including break policies in your employee handbook.
As you consider how you want to treat breaks in your company, you may benefit from the advice of an employment lawyer.
The employment attorneys at BrewerLong can advise you in developing policies that make sense for your company that comply with the law.
Florida Break Laws
With the exception of minors, who must receive a 30-minute break every four hours, employees do not have a legal right to breaks under Florida labor laws.
Lunch breaks and rest breaks can boost employee productivity, however, so many companies offer them even though they are not required.
Federal Break Laws
Federal labor laws also do not require employers to provide breaks.
However, if employers elect to provide breaks, they must comply with certain rules.
If your company offers short breaks of 20 minutes or less, the company must pay employees for the break time.
Additionally, employers must include the time allocated for these short breaks in calculating overtime.
You do not need to pay employees for longer breaks over 20 minutes as long as the employee is completely relieved from duty.
However, if you require an employee to complete tasks or remain available for work during their lunch break, you have to pay them.
For example, if you require your receptionist to remain at their desk to greet visitors during their lunch break, you must pay them for that time.
Drafting Employee Policies About Breaks
When you have a business, it is important to have an established policy regarding break times. A clear, written policy will help employees know what to expect and make it easier to enforce your policies consistently.
Here are a few things you might consider including in your policy:
- How often employees may take breaks;
- How long breaks will last;
- How breaks will be scheduled;
- Whom employees should notify when they go on break;
- Whether employees may leave the premises during breaks; and
- Potential discipline for violation of break policies.
“Having clear, written policies—whether they are in an employee handbook or some other form—is among the best ways for businesses to avoid disputes among employees”Employment Attorney Trevor Brewer
Get Advice from a Florida Employment Attorney
Even though Florida labor laws don’t require breaks, it is a good idea to consider what kind of break policy you want to establish for your company.
The experienced employment attorneys at BrewerLong work exclusively for employers. We provide many services to help employers anticipate and head off potential legal problems. These services include drafting company policies and procedures and employee handbooks.
If you want to learn more about how we can help you craft the right policies for your company, give us a call or contact us online for a consultation.