For working people in Florida, there are certain protections that ensure that they are not worked too hard without breaks. If you happen to be a Florida worker, you need to know about both state and federal law. Some employers make a habit of running afoul of these laws, and if you aren’t aware of your rights, you will have no way of asserting your rights. What are those state and federal laws that relate to breaks during the work day? Here are a few.
Rules for workers under the age of 18
Young workers receive special protections according to the law. Because the horrors of child labor were so self-evident in the past, many states have passed restrictions on how long children can work. To Florida’s credit, it enshrines in state law the requirement that all companies give workers under the age of 18 a 30-minute meal break for every four hours they work. This means that if you work a full day, you are entitled to two full half-hour breaks.
Unfortunately for older workers, state law does not dictate what companies must do in terms of breaks. Florida’s state legislators were apparently worried only about what to do with children in the workplace, and they neglected older workers. The good news, though, is that federal law has these workers covered in a slightly less helpful way. Even if Florida’s state laws can’t protect you, you are still entitled to protection under federal law because federal statutes apply to the states.
Federal law on breaks
There is no federal law that requires an employer to give his employees breaks. This is the bad news. However, there is a federal law that requires employers to pay employees through their short breaks. If you take a break of between five and 20 minutes, that break should be paid. This means that you don’t have to clock out to go to the bathroom. If you run downstairs to grab a slice of pizza and then eat it at your desk, you have to be paid for this time. Employers don’t have to give you the time off, however, given the contours of existing federal and state law.
Employers and industry custom
Even though there is no state or federal law requiring that adult workers are given a lunch break, most employers will do so out of custom. In a time when human resources is an increasingly competitive battle, the desire to attract the best candidates pushes many employers to provide benefits that are not required under law. They do so because doing so is good business when how they treat their employees will become a criterion upon which they are judged by the public.