Most Florida employers offer meal or rest breaks, but you may be shocked to discover that neither the federal nor Florida act grants employees time off for lunch or the privilege of taking short breaks during the work day.
Although no Florida legislation necessitates employers to provide meal and rest breaks, but the federal labor rule mandates employees to be compensated for breaks that are viewed as a component of the workday; howbeit, the provisions don’t mandate employers to offer break time.
Some employers in the Sunshine State make available these breaks as a form of company perk, understanding that an employee can be fatigued and hungry which may affect their productivity. Employees are known to be more protected in states where employers provide meals, rest, or both.
But in Florida, employers are not expected to provide rest or meal breaks. If employers decide to provide these breaks and leave, they are expected to adhere to specific guidelines.
So if an employer provides a break time of 20 minutes or less, the employees are expected to be compensated for their time off. Employers, however, are not expected to pay employees for breaks longer than 20 minutes if the employee is free from work.
11 Most Important Florida Labor Laws Regarding Lunch and Breaks
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In the sunshine state, there is no law mandating employers to grant paid vacation time to employees. However, there are still private-sector employers in Florida that grant vacation as a “perk” or incentive to their employees. These policies are usually outlined in an employee handbook or equivalent manual, and employers have to comply with these policies or face legal action. Also, an employer of labor may decide to implement a “use it or lose it” policy.
This kind of policy restricts employees from saving vacation time by authorizing them to use it on a specific date or lose their right to use it. When an employer makes available unpaid or paid vacation leave to employees, they must follow the standards outlined in the employee’s vacation leave policy or the employment agreement.
Employers in Florida are recommended to provide some form of sick leave for full-time employees in order to avert the strain of attempting to work through an illness or having employees contaminate other workers when infectious.
Even if an employer doesn’t provide paid sick leave, an employee under federal law still reserves the right to request unpaid time off to better cope with personal or family illnesses and related matters. If an employer chooses to provide employees with paid or unpaid sick leave, they will have to comply with the requirements highlighted in the employment contract or sick leave policy.
There isn’t any legislation or policies in Florida that mandate employers to grant employees bereavement or funeral leave. Bereavement leave is time off given to an employee as a result of the loss of another person, typically a close family member.
Employers could very well provide bereavement leave and they are obligated to adhere to any bereavement procedure or policy they have in place.
Domestic Violence Leave
Employees in Florida could indeed demand and receive up to three unpaid workdays off when they or a member of their household is the victim of domestic or sexual violence. It should be noted that this statute is only applicable if the company has more than 50 employees and the employee has been with the company for at least three months.
Also note that the employee will have to utilize this period to pursue a court ruling against the offender, obtain medical treatment or counseling, pursue victim service assistance, secure the home, or seek legal assistance.
Employers in Florida are not mandated by law to provide employees with paid or unpaid time off to vote. Employers in Florida are prohibited from discharging or trying to intimidate employees for voting or not voting in an election, for a specific candidate, or for a defined ballot measure. Employers who contravene this law might be charged with a third-degree felony.
Even though jury duty is among those civic responsibilities that many people despise, keep in mind that it is a valid reason to miss work.
It should be noted that the Florida rule mandates employers to grant employees time off for this function. It also prohibits them from pressuring to discharge anyone who is summoned for jury duty or serves on a jury. Employers aren’t mandated to compensate employees who serve on juries.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
In the state of Florida, there are no rules and regulations requesting employers to pay workers for maternity or paternity leave. Note that new parents who work in the Florida public sector are entitled to a maximum of six weeks leave to take care of their newborn or newly adopted child.
It should also be noted that this applies to those looking to care for a spouse with disabilities prior to and after childbirth. Remember that until otherwise stated by the law, this period is unpaid.
Although the Federal Family Medical Leave Act gives room for 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parent obligations for both private and public sector employees, keep in mind that this is only accessible to employees if their company has far more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
Nursing Mother Breaks
According to federal law, employers of labor must give mothers enough time to express breast milk for nursing babies up to a year old. However, keep in mind that the break should adhere to certain guidelines:
- To express breast milk easily and successfully, a reasonable time frame should be made available.
- A private area that is designed to protect from view and encroachment by coworkers and the general public should be made available. Restrooms don’t meet this requirement.
If you were refused a break for the purpose of expressing milk, you can file a legal case.
Florida Vacation Pay
Private employers in Florida are not required to provide any paid or unpaid holidays. According to findings, Florida formally recognises 19 holidays, many of which are paid days off for public employees. Among these holidays are:
- Christmas Day
- New Year’s Day,
- Labor Day
- Martin Luther King Day,
- Presidents’ Day,
- Pascua Florida Day,
- Independence Day,
- Columbus Day,
- Thanksgiving Day, and
- Veteran’s Day.
Break Times For Employees Covered By The American Disabilities Act
Despite the fact that the ADA doesn’t clearly state that employees should be allowed to take breaks, employers should make allowances for disabled persons to be able to carry out their job roles. The following are some remarkable scenarios in which breaks that are taken periodically can be allowed for employees:
- The worker suffers from any pain disorder that requires them to stand up only after very few hours of work.
- The employee has the right to wear medical equipment, such as a brace, which must be changed at regular breaks all day long.
- The worker needs room to take prescribed drugs or injections in a private space, including those for diabetes.
Keep in mind, however, that this isn’t a comprehensive list of the instances that might make an employee qualify for a break. You can file a claim against your employer if they refuse to make accommodations for your disability.
Break Times For Minors
Minor employees should not be allowed or mandated to work more than 4 hours unceasingly without a break for a meal, according to Florida Statute 450.081(4). Aside from that, the meal period cannot be less than 30 minutes in duration and cannot be interrupted by work. There are, indeed, some exceptions to this rule. Minors might well be denied protection if they:
- Already hold any high school diploma in the sunshine state or a high school equivalency diploma from another state
- Obtain a legitimate certificate of exemption from the school superintendent.
- Were being employed as domestic servants in private residences, by their parents, or as pages in the Florida Legislature.