A brief guide to South Carolina labor laws on breaks
The legal system provides many guidelines to ensure that the rights of all employees are respected. South Carolina labor law on breaks are not as comprehensive as the many other regulations regarding wages, safety standards and other aspects of work. However, there are still guidelines which employers must follow.
There are no South Carolina labor laws on breaks that require employers to provide a resting period for their workers. However, there are regulations concerning compensation if breaks are offered. South Carolina labor law on breaks require employers to compensate workers who must work during any period allocated for meals. For example, a worker may be required to provide customer service in person or over the phone while eating lunch. In such cases, South Carolina labor laws on breaks mandate that employers compensate them for this period.
Different rules apply depending on how long a given break is. Even if you are not working during a short break (one lasting less than half an hour), South Carolina labor law on breaks require employers to pay you. This period is considered part of your work day. Failure to compensate you may be a violation of South Carolina labor laws on breaks.
As an employee, you must also respect your employer's rules. Under South Carolina labor law on break, an employer may set a fixed amount of time for a break. If you take longer during this break than you have been allotted, you are not following the terms of your employment. In such cases, an employer is not in violation of South Carolina labor laws on breaks if they do not compensate you for this time.
If you are granted 30 minutes or more for a break, employers are generally not required to compensate you for this time. However, South Carolina labor law on breaks also state that employers cannot create any rules about how you spend this time. You are allowed to leave the workspace and use this period as you see fit. Employers who try to prevent you from spending this time however you choose are in violation of South Carolina labor laws on breaks.
As a worker, it is important to be well informed about all of your rights. An employer who refuses to compensate you for a lunch period during which you are still performing work of some variety is in violation of South Carolina labor law on breaks. You should inform the Hours and Wages division of the United States Department of Labor of any such potential violations. This government agency will investigate your claims and may be able to obtain compensation for unpaid or underpaid wages.
If this government agency declines to act on your behalf concerning a violation of South Carolina labor laws on breaks, you may wish to seek out private legal representation. A lawyer experienced in labor litigation may be able to successfully file a lawsuit on your behalf.