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Mandatory clocking " OUT and In" for 30 minute lunch breaks Dallas, Texas Texas

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  • Mandatory clocking " OUT and In" for 30 minute lunch breaks Dallas, Texas Texas

    I work for a non-profit "Skilled Care, Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care Institution. I work the week-ends for 7p-7a shift. There are only two persons working this shift, My self and a C.N.A. The Day time workers are permitted 30 minutes over to compensate for their meal break, thereby getting paid for full hours worked. However, I am not permitted extended time to compensate for taking a mandatory 30 minute lunch break. Time periods are paid by-weekly and each pay period, I am deducted 2 hours pay for lunch break, that I have to sit at my station if I want to eat. I have to call the C.N. A. from her duties even for a toilet break. Although I am not busy with duties with the residents, I still cannot leave my post. The employee handbook states that all employee are permitted two 15 minute paid breaks during working hours. I asked my manager if I could use my paid breaks for lunch time, but she said that is not permitted. Therefore I am made to pay my employer to take a meal break. What are the Texas and Federal labor laws governing my situation, What are my options or is there any solution at all for me?

  • #2
    Das ist in der Doktor!

    Originally posted by Ms Margrite View Post
    I work for a non-profit "Skilled Care, Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care Institution. I work the week-ends for 7p-7a shift. There are only two persons working this shift, My self and a C.N.A. The Day time workers are permitted 30 minutes over to compensate for their meal break, thereby getting paid for full hours worked. However, I am not permitted extended time to compensate for taking a mandatory 30 minute lunch break. Time periods are paid by-weekly and each pay period, I am deducted 2 hours pay for lunch break, that I have to sit at my station if I want to eat. I have to call the C.N. A. from her duties even for a toilet break. Although I am not busy with duties with the residents, I still cannot leave my post. The employee handbook states that all employee are permitted two 15 minute paid breaks during working hours. I asked my manager if I could use my paid breaks for lunch time, but she said that is not permitted. Therefore I am made to pay my employer to take a meal break. What are the Texas and Federal labor laws governing my situation
    Texas does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to
    employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not
    require an employer to provide either a meal (lunch) period or breaks. However, if an
    employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must
    be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so
    long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period

    Federal law:
    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employees be given meal or rest breaks. However, if employers do offer short breaks (lasting about five to 20 minutes), federal law considers these short breaks time for which employees must be compensated. Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), serve a different purpose than short rest or snack breaks and, thus, are generally not time for which employees must be compensated. The FLSA is administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division of the Employment Standards Administration.

    What are my options or is there any solution at all for me?
    Seek another line of work.

    As you tell it, your employer is doing nothing illegal
    But then, Texas is not known to be a very labor friendly state,
    better than some, worse than others.
    Sorry Im sure this is not what you wanted to hear.

    .._________________
    ~ Free advice is like a public defender,
    you get what you pay for. ~ drr

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ms Margrite View Post
      Although I am not busy with duties with the residents, I still cannot leave my post.
      Originally posted by drruthless View Post
      Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.
      The OP says she "cannot leave my post". Isn't this contrary to the employee being "free to do as they wish during the meal of lunch period"? Wouldn't that mean the meal period should be paid? OR, if there is no meal period, isn't the 2 hour lunch break deduction improper if she can't leave her post?

      Am I missing something here?
      Last edited by Law Firm Business Manager; 09-11-2011, 10:20 AM.
      While I may work for lawyers, I am not an attorney. Comments I make are based on my working experiences and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sort of. There legally are two different issues here.
        - It is perfectly legal for the employer to require the employee to stay at their duty station. Neither TX or federal law (as the prior answer stated) require that breaks be given, or that the employee be allowed to use the time for their own if given.
        - HOWEVER, if the employee's time is sufficiently restricted, and this very much may be, then the employer cannot treat the lunch as unpaid. To be very clear, it is perfectly legal under federal law and say "do not leave the building" and still have an unpaid lunch. It is the "do not leave your duty station" that likely crosses the line. Past that, if the employee does any work of any kind, then that certainly crosses a line. Lets say that Bob has a 1 hour lunch and at the 20 minute mark, Bob gets called back to his desk for 5 minutes of work. Then completes the lunch. The first 25 minutes of the lunch break is almost certain legally paid, even if Bob was otherwise free to wander the building. The remaining 35 minutes is almost certainly unpaid. I am using phrases like "almost" because there is a little grey area here in the law. Such as breaks are 20 minutes or less while lunch is 30 minutes or more. ??? What happens to a whatever-we-call-it that lasts 21-29 minutes. The feds probably know but they are not telling. More over, a single interruption in a long lunch period does not necessarily make the entire lunch period paid. We need to have a segment that is at least 30 minutes long AND not overly controlled for that segment to be unpaid.

        Strongly agree with the other answer. This is not the employer being mean for the sake of being mean. There is an apparent business reason to restrict staff the way they do. Meaning this job is not for everyone. Now having said that, there is a good chance that part or all of the lunch is paid. Restricting the employee is legal, making them eat lunch at the work station is legal, unpaid lunches however may not be legal.

        The federal regulation on meals is 29 CFR 785.19. I am going to suggest that the OP read through the regulation solely with the paid vs. unpaid issue in mind.
        http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text....2.44.3.434.10
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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