Don’t try docking pay for smoking breaks. — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Don’t try docking pay for smoking breaks.

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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 (FLSA). 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.

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