Monday, January 31, 2011

Meal Time - Break Times - Sick Time - Vacation Days: What Are The Laws in Pennsylvania? on These Things?

Many people believe that they are entitled to break times and meal times.  Just as many believe that they are entitled to vacation pay and sick time.  However, federal law, as embodied in the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") actually does not require that employees who work a regular 8 hour shift receive such benefits.

I know that sounds absurd, but the reality is that the FLSA requires only that qualified workers receive minimum wage and overtime (it also governs Child Labor laws).

Most states, including Pennsylvania, do not require break times or meal times.

However, if your employer has a policy or practice of providing any of the benefits listed above, then they must follow those policies and practices for all employees, or they may be liable under the FLSA, as well as under state laws such as Pennsylvania's Wage Payment and Collection Law

I typically see this arise where employers violate their own policy or practice regarding meal time or break time by forcing employees to work without such breaks, and then dock them pay as if they in fact had taken such breaks.

Example:  A non-exempt employee works 47.5 hour week, with supposed 1/2 hour a day of breaks, and 1 hour lunch.  Employee actually gets only 1/2 hour lunch break a day.  Employee is nevertheless paid for only 40 hours.  The employee is owed for 5 hours of overtime for that week.

If you believe that you are not being paid for all of the hours you work each week, you may want to consider contacting a qualified employment lawyer in your area.  There are serious penalties available for violation of the FLSA (use the Search Key in this Blog to learn more about such remedies), but you may not stand on your rights without action for too long, or your rights may be lost or limited.

More questions about overtime or the FLSA?  Click Here.

For more information on this topic, visit the Department of Labor's Website by Clicking Here.

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