Navigating state labor laws and determining how they align or conflict with federal laws can be an ongoing challenge for employers across industries. In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of Georgia labor laws for employee breaks (paid and unpaid) so your company can ensure full compliance with state and federal regulations. It’s equally important to understand these laws so you can clearly communicate standards and expectations to the staff within your company and discuss or organize any specific accommodations that may be necessary.
Key Information and Requirements
Let’s begin by emphasizing that neither Georgia law nor the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that breaks or meal periods be granted to your employees. Of course, although this isn’t a strict legal requirement, a majority of employers offer meal periods and short rest breaks. Below, we’ll explore the finer legal details of Georgia break laws to help you implement a policy that is compliant and works smoothly in the context of your own company.
Bona Fide Meal Periods
If you elect to grant your employees a meal break, it must be a bona fide meal period of 30 minutes or more. During this time, the employee must not perform any work-related tasks (including even minor duties like answering a company phone call); otherwise, the meal period is no longer deductible from wages and must be paid by the employer.
Short Rest Breaks
Unlike bona fide meal periods, if you decide to offer your employees short rest breaks (typically 5-20 minutes), you must pay them for this time. This time can not be deducted from an employee’s wages. Employers are not obligated to pay employees after 20 minutes of a break in the event that a break exceeds that 20-minute threshold.
Paid Breaks for Breastfeeding Mothers
In 2020, the Georgia state legislature passed “Charlotte’s Law,” which requires that employers offer paid lactation breaks to mothers who must breastfeed at work. These breaks must be “of a reasonable duration,” match the employee’s standard compensation rate, and the employer must provide appropriate, private locations at the workplace for these breaks to occur. Learn more about the details of this law, including exemptions and other provisions.
As part of the official code of Georgia labor laws for factory workers, employees who work within the cotton or woolen manufacturing industries cannot work for more than 10 hours a day. Employees are entitled to work for over 10 hours only if they are compensating for lost hours, but under no circumstances can they exceed 60 hours of work per week.
How to Ensure Full Compliance with All Georgia Labor Laws
Federal and state labor laws for employee breaks are just one part of a complex array of compliance concerns your company must negotiate on a regular basis. Our recent article, “Do Georgia Businesses Need to Hang Up Labor Law Posters?” demonstrates some of the challenges that Georgia businesses face in ensuring compliance in just this single category.
Fortunately, CAVU HCM is designed to help you stay fully labor compliant and manage your payroll efficiently. Let us help you implement a proven system that covers all areas of compliance for your business and synthesizes with our leading-edge payroll software. Contact us today to start our collaboration.