We receive requests from time to time about why cannot breaks be rounded, or how must rounding be applied. This article does a great job of laying out the regulations the department of labor has defined.
Bona-fide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) are not work time, and an employer does not have to pay for them. However, the employees must be completely relieved from duty. When choosing to automatically deduct 30 minutes per shift, the employer must ensure that the employees do not work during the full meal break. See Regulations 29 CFR 785.19 .
A skilled nursing facility automatically deducts one-half hour for meal breaks each shift. Upon hiring, the employer notifies employees of the policy and of their responsibility to take a meal break. Does this practice comply with the FLSA?
Yes, but the employer is still responsible for ensuring that the employees take the 30-minute meal break without interruption.
An hourly paid registered nurse works at a nursing home which allows a 30-minute meal break. Residents frequently interrupt her meal break with requests for assistance. Must she be paid for these frequently interrupted meal breaks?
Yes, if employees’ meals are interrupted to the extent that meal period is predominately for the benefit of the employer, the employees should be paid for the full 30-minutes.