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Must we pay for restroom breaks?

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Q: We have a school bus driver who takes a 10-minute bathroom break before dropping off her empty bus at the depot. We’ve been deducting the minutes from her paycheck. She says she must take the break due to her medication. Do we have to pay her? — A.K., Louisiana

A: Assuming your bus driver doesn’t spend more than 20 minutes in the ladies’ room, you must pay her for the bathroom breaks. Although the Fair Labor Standards Act technically doesn’t require employers to offer bathroom breaks at all, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration does require employers to allow reasonable bathroom breaks. It would seem that a 10-minute bathroom break after a school bus run would be reasonable. Pay her.

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