What Are the Labor Laws for Working an 8 Hours Straight Shift? | Mann & Elias
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What Are the Labor Laws for Working an 8 Hours Straight Shift?


When it comes to labor laws, they’re set by both federal and state governments. Issues like how often you should get a break and what the maximum working hours can be are all addressed in these labor laws. Most laws apply to any business, regardless of their gross revenue, number of employees, or the type of business that they do.

As an employee, you are protected under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), which addresses a number of workers’ rights. These include child labor laws, working hours, overtime pay, and wages. This federal act is currently enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.

Let’s Discuss Rest Periods

An attorney for restaurant workers can agree that FLSA doesn’t make it mandatory for employers to offer meals or breaks. Under this law, an employee may legally work an eight-hour shift without even a restroom break. However, there are not many employees that do. 

Many employers will offer break periods for a multitude of reasons. First, they know that breaks help to give their workers a break to rejuvenate their body and mind. Second, they know that employees who don’t get proper nutrition are less productive. Third, employers know that to be competitive in their job offering, they need to allow for rest periods like other employers in their industry do.

When it comes to state laws, many states address mandatory rest periods for workers. In this case, the state law supersedes the lack of federal law in this area of employment. Each state will be a bit different in what they mandate. For example, Rhode Island requires a 30-minute break during an eight-hour shift. California requires a 30-minute break every five hours except for when an employee is only working six hours or less. New York, on the other hand, requires a full-hour meal break at or around noon for factory workers.

Paid vs Unpaid Breaks

Legal professionals can help clarify when an employer must and may choose not to pay you for a break. In general, FLSA does address short breaks. Anything between 10 and 20 minutes is considered a short break. These short breaks must be paid for by the employer. However, a meal break that is 30-minutes or more of uninterrupted time doesn’t have to be paid for. It’s up to the employer whether or not they choose to compensate you for the meal time.

Why Are Breaks A Good Idea?

Your lawyer can list countless reasons why giving employees regular breaks is a great idea. When sitting down and looking over many laws, you may find that you can have an employee work for an entire eight-hour shift without taking a meal or rest break. However, it would actually be counterproductive to do.

Employees who can’t take breaks tend to fatigue faster. Their concentration levels become poor, and their overall productivity level lowers. When employees are working straight eight-hour shifts, they are less productive than employees who get regularly scheduled rest and meal breaks.

A Quick Look At Other Laws

The Los Angeles workplace lawyer that is handling your case can tell you that the regulations regarding working eight-hour straight shifts come down to more than just federal and state labor laws. There are other laws that grant employees the right to have rest periods to address necessary issues. 

For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 permits nursing mothers reasonable break times to pump their milk. Also, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 opens up a whole other door of necessary rights regarding those with disabilities in the workplace and their ability to have breaks or rest periods.

Benefits Of Offering Employees Breaks

While many decisions about your business will be easily governed by federal, state, and local laws, they shouldn’t be your only area of consultation. You need to think about the overall operations of your business and how a decision on the subject at hand will alter those operations. Any Los Angeles restaurant worker rights lawyer can assist you in determining what’s the best approach for your business.

When it comes to offering employee breaks, there are a number of benefits you can gain from doing so. By understanding what these benefits are, you can make a more informed decision about your business. These many benefits include:

Increased Productivity

Most employers can relate to the reasoning behind this benefit. When you take a short break, it can help to rejuvenate your mind. When you take the time to eat lunch, it can help to boost your creativity and concentration. Therefore, it’s not hard to realize that regular breaks allow for increased employee productivity. Higher productivity levels mean more revenue for your business.

Better Mental Well-Being

An employee’s mental well-being has a big effect on their ability to work. When your employee gets regular breaks, they are able to refresh their mind and drop off some stress. Employees who are less stressed are more attentive at work and more outgoing. This can be crucial in a customer-facing role like serving or hosting.

Healthier Employees

Healthy employees are an asset to any company. Healthy employees take fewer sick days and are more attentive and productive throughout the average workday. When you provide employees with regular rest and meal breaks, they are more capable of practicing healthy habits throughout the day. For example, they can use a short rest period in the morning to meditate or walk around the block.

While the labor laws regarding an eight-hour straight shift can vary depending on the state that you live in, it’s never a good idea to force employees to work these long, uninterrupted shifts. Rest periods and meal breaks are an essential part of any employee’s well-being. And, they can mean the difference between low and high productivity throughout the workday.


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