Guide to Florida Labor Laws About Breaks
If you have been denied the ability to take a break for meals, breastfeeding, or any other reason, you may wonder if your employer is breaking FL labor laws about breaks. This guide will explain Florida labor laws about breaks so that you can understand whether your current employer is violating state laws with their policies. You may be surprised to learn that for most employees, there are no FL labor laws about breaks.
If you are an adult who is given any kind of lunch break or brief (less than 20 minute) breaks during the course of your employment, consider yourself lucky—Florida labor laws about breaks do not apply to adult employees. If you are an adult, you will not be entitled to any meal breaks or any other kind of break (with one exception that will be discussed later in this guide). If your employer does provide break time, breaks of less than 20 minutes must be paid according to federal and FL labor laws about breaks. Lunch or other meal breaks of 30 minutes or more may be paid or unpaid according to federal and Florida labor laws about breaks.
In some cases, a union contract or employment agreement may include provisions about breaks that exceed FL labor laws about breaks. In this situation, your employer must abide by the union contract or employment agreement to maintain compliance with Florida labor laws about breaks.
Breaks for Minor Employees
The one time when employees are entitled to special protection in FL labor laws about breaks is when the employees are minors. If a business has hired a minor to work a shift that is longer than 4 hours, the employee must be given a 30 minute lunch break (paid or unpaid) according to Florida labor laws about breaks. If you are not given a meal period as a minor employee, your employer is violating Florida laws about breaks and may be liable for paying fines and penalties.
Federal laws supercede FL labor laws about breaks, so while the state of Florida does not have any laws on the books about breastfeeding and work breaks, a new federal law does apply to the state. According to current federal law, employers are required to provide their employees with reasonable breaks for breastfeeding or pumping. This is because women who are pumping breastmilk must do so periodically or face severe discomfort and a reduction in their milk supply. These breaks can be paid or unpaid, but must allow a woman with an infant to express her breastmilk as often as is necessary for her comfort.
Vacation and Sick Leave
Many employees are surprised to find out that Florida labor laws about breaks also do not include any provision for vacation time or sick leave. Your employer is not obligated to provide you with any sick time, whether paid or unpaid. In some cases, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may allow you to take unpaid time off to attend to a medical situation with yourself or a family member.