Maryland Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under Section 3-420 of the Maryland Code Annotated, Labor and Employment Division, employers are required to pay overtime to employees working longer than 40 hours in one week. The statute requires overtime pay after 48 hours in one week for those employed in residential facilities caring for the sick, aged or mentally ill. The 48-hour exception does not apply to those employed in a hospital setting and hospital nurses are entitled to mandatory overtime after 40 hours in one workweek. A workweek is defined as seven consecutive days including weekends.

Maryland code sections do not expressly provide for mandatory meal or rest breaks for employees. Therefore, employees are covered under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which fills in any gaps in state-level employment and labor codes. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not provide for mandatory rest or meal breaks. Employers may choose to offer meal breaks but are under no obligation to pay employees for time spent on break and may even require employees to eat while on duty- which must be paid. Rest breaks must be paid if they are under 20 minutes in duration but an employer is under no legal duty to provide rest breaks to an employee regardless of the number of hours in a work shift.
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