Alabama Break Laws

April 11th 2024

Understanding break laws is essential to creating a conducive working environment. However, some states in the United States, like Alabama, have no state law concerning rest breaks or meal periods.

Some employers in Alabama offer rest periods and meal breaks as part of their custom or company policy. In such cases, these employers must communicate their break provisions to ensure compliance with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This article discusses the key provisions of meal and rest breaks employers in Alabama may provide and how they can ensure compliance with Alabama labor laws.

This article covers:

Rest Breaks in Alabama

Employers in Alabama are not required to provide short breaks of 10 to 15 minutes. However, if an employer decides to include rest breaks in their custom or company policy, they must adhere to FLSA’s rest break provisions.

According to federal law, rest periods lasting from 5 minutes to 20 minutes must be counted as hours worked and compensated.

Meal Breaks in Alabama

Alabama has no state law concerning meal breaks. It is at the employers’ discretion to provide such breaks to their employees. According to FLSA’s meal periods, a bona fide meal break is separate from coffee breaks or rest breaks. The 30-minute meal break is intended for eating regular meals.

Employers are not required to compensate for meal breaks, as this period is not considered work time. Employees must be relieved of all their work duties and may leave the work premises during the meal break period. However, if the employee is required to perform any duties, whether inactive or active, the employee must be compensated for working throughout the break.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Alabama

Alabama does not have state legislation to protect and support nursing mothers breastfeeding in the workplace. However, all breastfeeding employees in Alabama are protected by FLSA’s PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. Under this federal law, employers must provide all nursing mothers with reasonable break time as needed and a private room, other than a bathroom stall, to pump at work for one year.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Alabama

Alabama safeguards the welfare of its employed minor employees. According to Alabama Child Labor Laws, the minimum age for employment is 14, and only minor employees aged 14 and 15 are entitled to rest or meal periods. Minor employees between the ages of 14 and 15 must have an unpaid 30-minute meal or rest break for every 5 hours or more of continuous work.

Penalties for Employers in Alabama Violating Break Laws

In Alabama, there are no specific state laws requiring employers to provide breaks to employees over the age of 16. Therefore, there are no penalties for employers violating break laws. However, employers must comply with federal laws regarding breaks if their business is subject to the FLSA.

Under the FLSA, breaks of 20 minutes or less typically must be paid, while longer meal breaks (typically 30 minutes or more) do not need to be compensated as long as the employee is completely relieved of duties. Violations of the FLSA can result in penalties such as back wages owed to employees and possible fines imposed by the Department of Labor.

Furthermore, the department may impose civil penalties on employers for violating break obligations to minor employees. An employer may pay $1,000 to $5,000 if proven to have violated the break provisions under Alabama child labor law.

Learn more about Alabama Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.