Must we pay for short 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

Must we pay for short smoking breaks?

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Q. Would a brief clock-out (initiated by the employee) of less than 20 minutes, such as an impromptu smoking break or personal phone call break, need to be paid as work time? The company accepts such impromptu clock-out breaks without prior supervisor approval. — T.N., Ohio

Yes, you should pay for that time. Although there is no federal requirement to provide breaks, such time is compensable under the FLSA. The general rule is that all break times of 20 minutes or less must be paid.

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