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DOL Issues An Opinion Regarding FMLA-Related Breaks


On April 12, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued an opinion letter regarding whether a non-exempt employee’s 15-minute FMLA-related rest breaks are compensable.

Under the FLSA, rest breaks up to 20 minutes in length are ordinarily compensable because they primarily benefit the employer. The DOL differentiated these compensable breaks from the non-compensable short rest breaks that primarily benefit the employee. Specifically, under the FMLA, eligible employees may take FMLA leave in periods of weeks, days, hours, or even less than an hour. Employees may substitute their available paid leave for FMLA leave; otherwise, the FMLA leave may be unpaid. The FMLA provides no exceptions for breaks up to 20 minutes in length.

Based on the foregoing, the DOL opined that because the FMLA-protected breaks given to accommodate the employee’s serious health condition predominantly benefit the employee, they are not compensable. Full text of the DOL’s opinion letter can be found here:

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