An employer who allowed his workers to take a series of short smoking breaks had to compensate them for the time. Reason: Such approved short breaks (20 minutes or less) are considered hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (). That opinion comes from a recent opinion letter by the U.S. Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division. (W&H Letter No. 2007) The FLSA doesn't require you to give workers rest periods, but if you do decide to allow short breaks, the time is compensable.