Rest and Bathroom Breaks for Employees

Rest breaks of short duration—i.e., between 5 minutes and 20 minutes—are common among employees.  Because these types of rest breaks are customary and viewed as promoting efficiency, they count as working time for which employees must be paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and Minnesota law.  See 29 C.F.R. § 785.18; see also Minn. R. § 5200.0120.  Minnesota law also requires that an employer “must allow each employee adequate time from work within each four consecutive hours of work to utilize the nearest convenient restroom.”  See Minn. Stat. § 177.253.

In certain circumstances, an employee may be entitled to additional rest breaks as an accommodation for a disability.  For example, an employee with a disability may require more frequent bathroom breaks than would otherwise be required, or a diabetic employee may need periodic breaks to monitor his or her blood-sugar.

About Michael Miller

Michael is a Chambers-rated attorney in Briggs and Morgan's Employment, Benefits, and Labor group and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Counseling and Compliance practice group. He has 25 years experience counseling employers to prevent unwanted litigation and advises companies of ongoing changes in federal, state and local employment law. Michael advises employers in all areas of employment law including discipline and discharge, leaves of absence, wage and hour compliance, non-compete and confidentiality agreements, affirmative action plans, background checking, and drug/alcohol testing. For Michael's full bio, click here.

Posted on July 14, 2011, in Wage and Hour and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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