Guide to Oklahoma Labor Laws About Breaks
If you are a worker in Oklahoma, you may wonder if your employer is following all applicable OK labor laws about breaks. Several Oklahoma labor laws about breaks require specific kinds of breaks for employees. This guide will give you a basic overview of OK labor laws about breaks, including meal breaks and breastfeeding breaks. For more information about specific Oklahoma labor laws about breaks, you may want to contact the state Department of Labor or a labor and employment attorney.
While most employers provide some sort of brief rest periods for their employees, many people are surprised to learn that there are no OK labor laws about breaks providing for rest breaks. Oklahoma labor laws about breaks do not require these breaks for any employees of any age, but if employers choose to have short rest breaks (less than 20 minutes), they must be paid according to state and federal law.
If your union contract or employment agreement provides for breaks, this takes precedence over any OK labor laws about breaks. Many of these agreements have explicit requirements for breaks, and if your employer violates these agreements you may be able to sue for breach of contract.
Much like rest breaks, meal breaks are not required by Oklahoma labor laws about breaks. For workers under the age of 16, OK labor laws about breaks do require a half hour meal break for any shift lasting longer than 6 hours. However, if you are an employee age 16 or older, you are not entitled to any meal break according to Oklahoma labor laws about breaks, and any meal break offered is considered an optional benefit.
Meal breaks, if they are offered by your employer, may be unpaid as long as you have no job duties during the time allotted according to OK labor laws about breaks. However, if you are required to perform any job duties whatsoever during your meal breaks, Oklahoma labor laws about breaks require that you be paid for your time.
Federal workplace safety regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as well as OK labor laws about breaks require that workers be given adequate bathroom breaks for their personal needs. If you require more bathroom breaks than most workers due to a medical condition, this is usually considered to be a reasonable disability accommodation and must be accommodated by your employer. Employers are also required to provide bathroom facilities that are accessible to all workers.
New federal and Oklahoma labor laws about breaks also require employers to give breaks to nursing women. If a woman is breastfeeding, she must be given reasonable unpaid breaks in order to express her breast milk. A failure to provide unpaid time for this is a violation of OK labor laws about breaks, and you may be able to make a complaint to the Department of Labor.