Alabama Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under current Alabama legislation, nurses are not afforded additional or expanded overtime rules beyond what is provided by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA dictates that any covered worker must be compensated by one and one-half times his or her regular pay for work over 40 hours per week. The FLSA does not necessarily require overtime pay for nurses who work longer than eight hours in one day as the employer is privileged to calculate overtime on a weekly basis. Healthcare workers who agree to a 14-day work period may be exempt from the FLSA and its protections unless the 14-day workweek exceeds the greater of 80 hours or eight hours in one day.

With respect to rest and meal breaks, the Alabama legislature has not enacted any specific statute regarding these rights and the FLSA does not require that employers allot time for paid breaks. Federal laws do not require lunch, rest or coffee breaks. However, if an employer offers a short break (usually 5-20 minutes) the FLSA includes this break time within compensable work hours. Meal periods of 30 minutes or more are not compensable absent a contrary agreement between the nurse and his or her employer.

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