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    Julie25's Avatar
    Julie25 Posts: 37, Reputation: 5
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    #1

    Mar 30, 2007, 11:28 AM
    Work labor laws
    Hello. My question is... in a manufacturing company, what is the law according to breaks?
    We work 8-12 hour shifts. Some employees work 8, others 10 and about 70 work 12 hours. There are no set breaks. Now we are starting a no smoking in the building policy and no one is to take a smoke break while punched in, nor are they allowed to punch out to go outside to take one. There has been a giant can of worms opened and we have many disgruntled employees on this. Can someone point me in the right direction?
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #2

    Mar 30, 2007, 06:30 PM
    Hello Julie!

    Manufacturing companies do not have different regulations with regard to this issue, than any other industry. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employees be given meal or rest breaks, although most companies do offer this benefit to their employees. This policy is set by management and the amount of time given is up to the discretion of management. Break times, when allowed are typically anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes.

    This link verifies the information I have given you.

    U.S. Department of Labor: Search Page

    Is this something that you are trying to negotiate?
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #3

    Mar 30, 2007, 07:25 PM
    I guess I would have to ask why do the employees want to "punch out" they will not be getting paid, but in basic for short breaks, it appears it its to be paid time while on the clock.

    But I guess I have to ask, where you are at, since I have never in my life and I have worked in and around factories for years never saw one that did not have set breaks and set lunches, bells ring, people break, bell rings they go back to work one morning break, one after noon break, another break for people at 8 hours of work if they are working 12 hours. And a 1/2 hour lunch somewhere in the middle of the day. This is so standard in the US, that if you don't get it, most people won't keep working somewhere. Now in jobs like prisions and hospitals that is not always the case, but in factory jobs I have never heard of them not doing it.


    29 CFR 785.18 - Rest.


    Section Number: 785.18
    Section Name: Rest.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20
    Minutes, are common in industry. They promote the efficiency of the
    Employee and are customarily paid for as working time. They must be
    Counted as hours worked. Compensable time of rest periods may not be
    Offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or
    On-call time. (Mitchell v. Greinetz, 235 F. 2d 621, 13 W.H. Cases 3
    (C.A. 10, 1956); Ballard v. Consolidated Steel Corp. Ltd. 61 F. Supp.
    996 (S.D. Cal. 1945))



    (a) Bona fide meal periods. Bona fide meal periods are not worktime.
    Bona
    Fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These
    Are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for
    The purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is
    Long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long
    Enough under special conditions. The employee is not relieved if he is
    Required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while
    Eating. For example, an office employee who is required to eat at his
    Desk or a factory worker who is required to be at his machine is working
    While eating. (Culkin v. Glenn L. Martin, Nebraska Co. 97 F. Supp. 661
    (D. Neb. 1951), aff'd 197 F. 2d 981 (C.A. 8, 1952), cert. denied 344
    U.S. 888 (1952); Thompson v. Stock & Sons, Inc. 93 F. Supp. 213 (E.D.
    Mich 1950), aff'd 194 F. 2d 493 (C.A. 6, 1952); Biggs v. Joshua Hendy
    Corp. 183 F. 2d 515 (C. A. 9, 1950), 187 F. 2d 447 (C.A. 9, 1951);
    Walling v. Dunbar Transfer & Storage Co. 3 W.H. Cases 284; 7 Labor
    Cases para. 61.565 (W.D. Tenn. 1943); Lofton v. Seneca Coal and Coke
    Co. 2 W.H. Cases 669; 6 Labor Cases para. 61,271 (N.D. Okla. 1942);
    Aff'd 136 F. 2d 359 (C.A. 10, 1943); cert. denied 320 U.S. 772 (1943);
    Mitchell v. Tampa Cigar Co. 36 Labor Cases para. 65, 198, 14 W.H. Cases
    38 (S.D. Fla. 1959); Douglass v. Hurwitz Co. 145 F. Supp. 29, 13 W.H.
    Cases (E.D. Pa. 1956))
    (b) Where no permission to leave premises. It is not necessary that
    An employee be permitted to leave the premises if he is otherwise
    Completely freed from duties during the meal period.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #4

    Mar 30, 2007, 07:46 PM
    Yes, Fr Chuck, I was scratching my head on this one as well. I can't imagine anyone working under those conditions in the U.S. today and not having set policy in place that pretty much has guidelines as you have stated and outlined.

    Usually when you are talking manufacturing or factory jobs, there is a union involved that negotiates all of this into the contracts. Not knowing if Julie is an employee or management, and is trying to initiate some sort of policy, or is just verifying what the laws are left me to assume from her question that she was just verifying law. You would think a company this size would have a policy already in place.? If there is a policy in place, maybe this has more to do with the new smoking policy and if they have a right to complain about treatment. Sounds like the company is dictating that they cannot use break time for smokes? Not sure. Maybe Julie will enlighten us further.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692
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    #5

    Mar 30, 2007, 07:52 PM
    Yes I know we asked everyone one day to work their morning break because something had to be shipped by noon, they laughed at us and went to break.

    And there are some states ( not sure which ones anymore) that do have requirements of breaks after so many hours of work and the such unless you are working certain jobs.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #6

    Mar 30, 2007, 07:59 PM
    I actually checked that, regarding the states. Not knowing what state she is in, I checked NY, because they always seem to have all those guarantees. Well, guess what? No additional break laws! Only lunch break laws. So, I assumed (not always the smart way to go) that every other state won't have laws regarding breaks outside of lunch either.
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #7

    Mar 30, 2007, 08:41 PM
    I believe that the requirement for breaks is actually an OSHA regulation, not state law. So you might want to go looking through that if you want more information.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #8

    Mar 31, 2007, 06:10 AM
    Froggy, good try! I like it when people think outside the box but OSHA does not have any set policy on that either. See this link:

    Extended Unusual Work Shifts


    This is something that, if Julie is part of management trying to resolve a problem, has to recognize that a policy must be created which will allow the workers some relief if they are smokers. If this isn't resolved, they are going to either lose a lot of workers, or productivity will be at an all time low and, conversely, anger/irritability will be at an all time high. When it comes to smokers and their cigarettes -- "don't poke the bear"! :)
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #9

    Mar 31, 2007, 08:09 AM
    Ruby,

    I can see the concern about smoker's breaks, if a lot of people who work for you smoke. On the other hand, I've also seen the grumbling from non-smokers about "why do they get to go and take breaks to smoke, when I still have to work?" Seems like the safest tack for the company to take is to define some set amount of time that can be used for breaks, and let everyone take it. What they do during it is their problem.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #10

    Mar 31, 2007, 08:12 AM
    Exactly right, froggy. Personally, I would be none too happy to see people taking excessive breaks for a smoke when I don't. Her question really left me with a lot of head scratching. My scalp hurts. Just look at what it has done to my hair!
    shygrneyzs's Avatar
    shygrneyzs Posts: 5,017, Reputation: 936
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    #11

    Mar 31, 2007, 08:19 AM
    About the smoking - oh yes - I worked at a children's center/rehab and one of the classrooms I worked in had a huge west window. Right outside we could see the "smoke shack" as it was called, where the smokers would go. For one week the other teacher and I clocked people in and out, writing it all down. It was amazing. We took the results to the administrator, who then said the smokers have rights. Yeah yeah. So we said the non smokers deserved these same rights too. If the smokers can go on a 15 minute smoke break every hour, then the non smokers could go on the same kind of break.

    The result? The smoke shack was torn down and there was a no smoking policy on the grounds. If people wanted to smoke, they had to do it on their regular 15 minute a.m. break, their lunch break, and their 15 min p.m. break - off the center's property - which extended to the river.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #12

    Mar 31, 2007, 08:23 AM
    Well a very hearty Good Morning to you, my lovely shy! Sounds like a very effective and fair plan to me. Hopefully all of this chatter and head banging discussion will help Julie.
    Julie25's Avatar
    Julie25 Posts: 37, Reputation: 5
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    #13

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:26 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Julie25
    hello. my question is...in a manufacturing company, what is the law according to breaks?
    we work 8-12 hour shifts. some employees work 8, others 10 and about 70 work 12 hours. there are no set breaks. now we are starting a no smoking in the building policy and no one is to take a smoke break while punched in, nor are they allowed to punch out to go outside to take one. there has been a giant can of worms opened and we have many disgruntled employees on this. can someone point me in the right direction?
    Hey guys.. here is the deal.. up until April 2nd... we could smoke wherever we wanted minus bathrooms and offices... There are no set breaks at all... no lunch hour.. no sit down time away from the machines or work areas... you eat when you can... and hurry at it... you go potty if need be.. but hurry... now no one can smoke at all during the day.. because there are no breaks... they are ready to protest.. the labor board said sense we aren't union we have no case... we want rights for smokers and non smokers... for the 12 hour shifts... they should get 2 or 3 breaks.. the 8 hour... a break and a lunch or so.. something fair for everyone... there are many reasons this company is not fair... MANY.. unfortunately I am single mom and need the job.. I am looking.. because they are unfair... I hope this clears up any scratching of the head LOL... I just needed some honest advice.. because this place has many illegal immigrants... and the americans are the minorities... and pretty much have no say.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #14

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:36 PM
    Well, Julie it has cleared it up for me. That is a rotten work environment you have there. If some of you start to form a union, the illegal immigrants will all lose their jobs and be deported. If someone doesn't do something, the owners/management will keep getting away with this abuse. The legal workers need to figure out which is more important to them. Saving the illegals jobs or getting fair treatment. If you are at all interested, here is a link:

    www.aflcio.org - America's Union Movement

    Do with it what you will. Maybe one of your coworkers will want to spearhead the movement to move into the 21st century.

    Whatever you decide to do, stay or leave, good luck to you honey!
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #15

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:40 PM
    That is so odd. When companies are trying to keep unions out of their plants to have such a draconian policy makes no sense since it pushes the employess right into a union.

    I can understand not allowing smoking breaks. The issues of second hand smoke and lost productivity due to smoking related illness is enough to prohibit smoking in the workplace.

    But having people work 8-12 hours without any break doesn't make sense.
    Julie25's Avatar
    Julie25 Posts: 37, Reputation: 5
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    #16

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:47 PM
    The smoking law was not made by them... it was made by the town.. and all buildings excpet for bars if they file for an exemption have to obide by it... the break thing is the problem.. they could smoke on there breaks if we had them.. but we don't. We always could smoke.. the city made the ordinance not to do it in buildings anymore. The illegals.. leave to mexico for a month or so... come back with a new name.. or change there name on a sick day... its odd. Really odd.. some are after and have gotten our american girls pregnant and one of them married her and paid her off so he wouldn't get deported... its a sick environment.. and they don't care if we get breaks or not.. thank you for links I am going to check it out.. but americans are miniorities there and have no chance at forming a union.. one supervisor said we will just fire you and hire non smokers if a break is that important to you.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #17

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:48 PM
    It makes sense if the majority of your employees are illegals. These owners are old fashioned low lifes. Hurry and eat. Hurry and take a pee. I hope to kiss a duck that the workers aren't on an assembly line putting together anything that can fall apart on you or explode if not attached properly.
    RubyPitbull's Avatar
    RubyPitbull Posts: 3,575, Reputation: 648
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    #18

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:51 PM
    Julie, I just saw your post after I wrote mine. I don't know. If they are threatening people like that, someone working there legally might want to consider contacting your State labor board and report them. The State will come down on them harder than a ton of bricks. So will the Feds. They won't be able to replace people as quickly as they think.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #19

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:53 PM
    I missed the issue of mostly illegal immigrants. Employing illegals is illegal. If the INS or other agencies get a whiff of that, they can be shut down.
    Julie25's Avatar
    Julie25 Posts: 37, Reputation: 5
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    #20

    Apr 1, 2007, 05:54 PM
    Supposidly people have called and nothing has happened...
    I don't know what to do.. it really does suck... there are probably like 60 or so of them.. some might be legal some not.. but they can do no wrong.. they are cheap labor and for that we americans are underpaid.. I am not by all means racist... but I do believe there is right and wrong.. the supervisor that said that was american.. but she sleeps around with the guys there.. so it makes sense... and when I have had personal problems with them.. my boss who is american stuck up for them.. I just need good solid advice.. or someone to report them

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