Unpaid Breaks vs. Paid Breaks for Employees

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Mar 28, 2017 in Employee Rights

employment legislationMost workers in Arizona are accustomed to having breaks throughout the workday. While employees may view breaks as a right they are entitled to, employers are not required to provide time off during the workday.

However, if an employer chooses to provide workers with breaks throughout the day, those breaks are regulated by state and federal laws that determine which are to be paid and unpaid.

If your employer violates or ignores these standards, an experienced employment law attorney can help you protect your rights as a worker.

Employee Breaks Covered by Federal Law

An employer is required by federal employment laws to pay an employee for all hours he or she has worked.

Employers can designate a “bona fide” meal period that usually lasts for at least 30 minutes and for which the employee is not paid for. The employee must be completely relieved of his or her duties during this time.

However, if an employee is required to work during his or her meal period, he or she must paid for this time.

For example, if an employee eats lunch at his or her desk while continuing to perform regular work duties, the employer is required to pay the employee.

Employers can also provide short breaks throughout the day that can last five to 20 minutes. Small rest breaks like these promote efficiency in the workplace and are considered to be part of an employee’s regular working hours, which means he or she must be paid during this period.

Arizona’s Law for Employee Breaks

It is up to each state’s discretion to create its own laws for a mandatory break period for employees. Arizona currently does not have any such law.

Instead, Arizona’s employment law concerning employee breaks closely follows the standards set by the federal government.

If an employer chooses to provide his or her employees with a designated break, he or she must follow the standards laid out by federal legislation.

This means any extended break period laid out by an employer as a bona fide meal time must also relieve an employee of his or her job duties. If the employee is required to work during this period, he or she must be paid.

An employee must also be paid for any short breaks throughout the day lasting between five and 20 minutes.

Legal Help for Arizona Workers

If you have not been rightfully paid by your employer for the time you have worked, you may be entitled compensation.

The Phoenix employment law attorneys at the Phillips Law Group are willing to pursue any employer who mistreats his or her employees. We will fight to uphold the rights of wronged workers to ensure they receive the treatment and compensation they deserve.

Call or text 1-800-706-3000 to discuss your claim with one of our attorneys today.

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