The Trump DOL’s Wage & Hour Division issued its first 2 Opinion Letters on April 12.
In FLSA 2018-19, the Trump DOL addresses whether physician-certified 15-minute rest breaks every hour can be unpaid when a non-exempt employee is covered by, and eligible under, the FMLA.
The answer, “yes.”
The scenario addressed a FMLA eligible, non-exempt employee that has a requirement from a physician to take 15- minute breaks every hour throughout the workday. Adding up the 15-minute breaks every hour over the course of an 8-hour workday cuts the employee’s actual work time down to 6 hours.
The Trump DOL reasons that since the 15-minute breaks predominantly benefit the employee—not the employer—they can be considered non-compensable.
The caveat: Many workplaces provide non-exempt employees paid rest breaks. The non-exempt, FMLA eligible employee whose physician is requiring 15 minutes breaks every hour must still receive as many compensable rest breaks as their coworkers receive, i.e., equal treatment.
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