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Chicago Wage And Hour Laws Blog

Employers May Need to Pay Workers for Short Rest Breaks

When employees are promised breaks as part of their employment, federal law considers those breaks as part of their paid work hours. These hours must be included in the calculation of total hours worked and must be used to calculate overtime.

Federal law doesn’t require rest breaks. They are commonly offered by employers to boost productivity and enhance employee morale. Eight states (California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) have laws requiring rests. Typically, employees are offered a 10-minute break for every four hours worked.

Workers seek back pay for “off-the-clock” work duties

Some occupations require specific clothing or costumes that workers leave at the business. In today’s technological age, logging into business systems may be a necessity to perform the job. For workers who require specific safety gear to perform their jobs, changing into the work clothes may be compensable as far as federal wage and hour laws go.

The issue of “donning and doffing” is not new, but issues continue to arise in this area of employment law under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A similar concept recently arose in the area of signing on through a complex process of firewalls that call-center nurses say they were not properly paid as a part of their jobs.

Study: Wage theft is rampant in most populous states

Getting paid for a hard day's work may not always result in full satisfaction for workers. Reading through a W-2 can seem frustrating -- adding up the various deductions that are legally taken out from your bottom line. However, recent research conducted by the Economic Policy Institute shows that wage theft is a substantial problem in America.

After reviewing minimum wage pay violations in the 10 most-populous states in the country, the study's authors estimate that wage theft costs Americans more money than is stolen in acts of burglary, larceny, auto theft and robberies combined. And the research only touched one aspect of wage theft -- the failure to pay the relevant minimum wage.

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