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Florida Break Laws: What Employers Need to Know

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According to Florida break laws, Florida employers aren’t required to offer meal or rest breaks, either paid or unpaid, to their employees. In other words, employers can decide whether or not their employees will have some break time during their work hours for lunch or rest. 

Federal laws, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), also don’t mandate meal periods or rest breaks for employees through the Department of Labor.

This means that an adult worker in the state of Florida isn’t entitled to get some time off for lunch while at work. 

Here are the main things you should know about Florida break laws, including some tips on the best practices you should follow.   

Florida Break Laws: A Summary 

Regarding employee rights, Florida’s approach to break laws stands out for its employer-friendly stance. Florida's regulations offer more flexibility than California, Washington, or New York, where labor laws require specific meal or rest breaks. 

This increased flexibility, however, imposes responsibility on employers to strike a balance between employee welfare and productivity.

Reliable time and break tracking software, such as Timeero, is invaluable for achieving this goal. 

Timeero time clock mobile
Timeero lets employees track their hours and breaks, and view their timesheets.

Such a tool can help employers track work hours and ensure breaks are taken appropriately, aligning with the best practices for employee health and performance while respecting Florida’s more relaxed legal framework.

Lunch Break Laws in Florida

Federal labor laws apply since there are no designated Florida lunch break laws. 

The FLSA doesn’t mandate meal breaks for adult employees in Florida. So, neither federal nor state laws make workers eligible to get some time off for lunch. 

However, there’s a notable exception that should be mentioned. 

Minors or employees under 18 are prohibited from working without an uninterrupted 30-minute meal break every four hours of work. During this break, they must be relieved of all work-related activities.

Despite not being required to offer a meal break to their employees, many companies decide to do so. These employers are very well aware that their companies will benefit from creating a positive workplace environment. 

A recent study has shown that workers who take regular lunch breaks report higher engagement at work, increased job satisfaction, and the likelihood that they will recommend working for their company to others. 

When employers decide to offer a lunch break and include this in their company policy, they must comply with federal employment laws. 

Rest Breaks Laws in Florida

Regarding rest breaks, neither federal nor Florida labor laws stipulate that employers should offer employees some break periods during the workday to rest and replenish. 

Again, just like with meal breaks, most employers provide this perk to their workforce to boost their morale and productivity

Since working smarter, not harder, has become a widely accepted concept, many companies are beginning to understand the importance of restorative rest on employees’ creativity and focus. 

However, as Florida break laws don’t mandate breaks, they don’t specify the number and the length of rest breaks during a regular workday. 

Therefore, it’s something that’s part of a company policy or internal agreement. 

Paid vs. Unpaid Breaks

The FLSA explicitly says that employees must be paid for hours worked, and this provision includes designated breaks. So, let’s say an employee is allowed to take a break, but they have to work through their lunch. 

This is usually the case for receptionists who must take calls or greet visitors during their meal breaks. Although this is considered a meal break by the employer, since the employee works and can’t leave their workstation, they are entitled to fair compensation.

On the other hand, if an employee is offered a meal break of at least 30 minutes, during which they are relieved of all duties, this is considered a bona fide meal break and doesn’t have to be paid. The employee should also be allowed to leave the premises during this time.

However, if an employee offers short breaks throughout the workday, the FLSA requires those breaks to be paid. Specifically, federal law perceives breaks that last between five and 20 minutes as part of the workday

As for the number of breaks, neither Florida break laws nor the FLSA specify this. Still, employers usually create a policy and define the provisions themselves.

Generally speaking, many companies offer one unpaid 30-lunch break during an 8-hour shift and a paid 15-minute rest break after every 4 hours of work. 

The Importance of Enforcing an Employee Break Policy

An employee break policy is a critical component in protecting the welfare of employees and the operational efficiency of a company. 

In regions like Florida, where state regulations are silent on break times, having a comprehensive company policy is even more crucial. This way, you’ll prevent any potential confusion, misunderstandings, or deliberate attempts to take advantage of this rule. 

Having such a policy will ensure employees know what they’re entitled to while allowing you to enforce your break rules consistently and avoid potential disputes. 

 

Here are some factors you should bear in mind when drafting your break policy: 

  • Eligibility and Entitlement. Clearly define who is eligible for breaks and the type of breaks employees are entitled to.
  • Timing and Length. Breaks should be scheduled to minimize disruption to business operations while considering employee needs. Typically, a lunch break might range from 30 minutes to an hour, while rest breaks could be 10-15 minutes.
  • Scheduling Flexibility. Provide guidelines on scheduling breaks, allowing for some flexibility to accommodate various work shifts and patterns.
  • Break Compensation. Specify which breaks are paid and which are unpaid, and under what circumstances, in line with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and any other relevant labor laws.
  • Monitoring and Documentation. Assign the task of monitoring break times to a manager or supervisor and keep records documenting compliance with the break policy.
  • Policy on Workplace Departure. Decide and communicate whether employees can leave the premises during their breaks and under what conditions.
  • Accountability Measures. Establish a system of accountability, including the disciplinary steps that will be taken in the event of policy violations.

Read our resource guide on creating an Employee Breaks Policy, or download a free policy template that you can tailor to fit your company’s needs.

How Timeero Can Support Your Employee Breaks Policy in Florida?

Since a couple of minutes can make a big difference and decide whether a break can be classified as paid or unpaid, it’s essential to implement time-tracking software

With such a tool, you can hold your employees accountable, ensure they follow company break policies, and protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.

To back your Employee Breaks Policy, Timeero provides accurate and reliable time-tracking software that empowers both employees and employers.

So, how can Timeero help you?

1. Create a Customizable Break Policy

timeero break settings
You can set customized breaks following your employee break policy.

When using Timeero, you can use enhanced features to enforce your break policy seamlessly. 

You can find Break Settings in the Company Settings of your Company profile. Here, you can add new breaks, define their lengths, whether paid or unpaid, and assign them to your employees. 

2. Track Breaks Using the Mobile App

The Timeero mobile app features a user-friendly design and is very easy for your employees to use. 

timeero break tracking mobile
Employees can track their breaks using the Timeero mobile app.

Besides clocking their work hours, the app lets your employees clock in and out for predefined breaks with a few clicks on their mobile devices. 

The app streamlines the timesheet creation, adding the relevant data to employees’ timecards.

After their shift is done, they can view their timesheets, and if there are any discrepancies, act following your timekeeping policy.

3. Scheduling Employees Breaks

If you want to remind your employees to take the breaks they’re entitled to, you can use Timeero’s scheduling feature and schedule a time slot for a break.

This way, your employees will be notified on their phones that their time to rest has come.

4. Monitor Breaks and Generate Break Reports

With Timeero, managers can quickly ascertain if employees use their allocated breaks in a timely manner, promoting a balanced work culture.

The Time and Mileage Dashboard offers a quick insight into daily break usage.

timeero time and mileage preview
You can see whether your employees are using their breaks from the Time and Mileage Admin View

For more details, they can quickly generate break reports. 

timeero break reports
Easily generate Break reports.

As Timeero, besides working hours and breaks, also tracks employees’ location and mileage, it’s essential to know that it tracks break times without intruding on employees’ privacy. During their breaks, employees’ locations are not captured.

Florida Break Laws: Additional Relevant Information

Although under Florida break laws, employers are required to offer neither meal nor rest breaks, when they do so at their discretion, federal rules must be followed regarding compensation. 

According to the FLSA, employers are required to provide breaks to the following categories of employees: 

Nursing mothers 

Under federal law, nursing employees should be given reasonable rest breaks to express breast milk whenever needed until their baby is up to a year old. 

Employers must also provide a convenient place other than a bathroom where the nursing mother will be protected from view and intrusion by co-workers and the public. 

This regulation applies only to non-exempt employees who qualify for the FLSA minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Also, companies with fewer than 50 employees who can offer evidence that providing such breaks would present an “undue hardship” will be exempt from following this provision. 

Nursing breaks do not have to be paid under the FLSA. However, suppose the employer offers paid breaks. In that case, a nursing mother should be compensated like other employees. 

Employees Covered By the ADA Act

The American Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t specifically mandate breaks. Still, employers must provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations to help them perform their jobs properly.  

Examples in which a reasonable accommodation can be interpreted as the need for a necessary break include: 

  • When an employee experiences pain that would require them to sit or lie down for a while after working for a couple of hours 
  • When an employee uses medical equipment that needs to be adjusted several times during the day 
  • When an employee needs time to take prescribed medication or administer an injection in private, such as in the case of diabetes. 

As this isn’t a complete list of conditions under which employees with disabilities qualify for breaks, check the regulations and avoid potential lawsuits. 

Florida Hour and Wage Laws

In addition to understanding Florida break laws, employers in Florida must be familiar with Florida wage and overtime laws.

Unlike some states, Florida doesn’t determine the limit of overtime hours in a day. However, non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay for every hour they work over 40 a week. 

Read our blog on Florida overtime law to learn more about what jobs qualify as non-exempt and how much is Florida overtime wage.

Summing Up Florida Break Laws

As you can see, there’s much to unpack regarding Florida break laws. Even though employers aren’t legally bound to offer employee breaks, numerous factors must be considered. 

Managing a happy and productive workforce requires understanding their needs. Learning about their legal rights and responsibilities will save you from potential issues and lawsuits. 

Establishing a clear Employee Breaks Policy and using a reliable tool like Timeero to support it in everyday operations can dramatically streamline workflow management, enhance employee satisfaction, and ensure regulatory compliance with ease and precision.

To find out about the other ways Timeero can benefit your business, read our detailed Timeero review.

Florida Break Laws FAQ

Are work breaks mandatory in Florida?

Meal and rest break laws are not mandatory in Florida for adult workers. However, there is an exemption for minor employers, who are granted a 30-minute break after four hours of work.

Is a 15-minute break required by law in Florida?

Rest breaks aren’t required in Florida, regardless of their length. But, if an employer provides a short rest break, lasting from 5 to 20 minutes, it must be paid.

Does Florida require a 30-minute break?

There are no requirements for a 30-minute break in Florida. However, an employer may choose to provide it to their employees. If they do, the meal break must be uninterrupted and relieve employees of all the work-related duties to not count towards worked hours.

However, uninterrupted 30-minute meal breaks are mandatory for minor employees every four hours of work.

How many breaks do you get in an 8-hour shift in Florida?

Even though rest and meal breaks are not required by break laws in Florida, many employers offer one unpaid 30-lunch break during an 8-hour shift and a paid rest break after every 4 hours of work. 



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