Nebraska Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Nebraska has not enacted any legislation on the state level to address overtime rules as applied to employers. In any situation in which a state legislature has not enacted laws to cover important labor or employment issues, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act steps in to fill in the gaps in the state code. Since Nebraska has not provided clear guidelines, the Act’s requirements of mandatory overtime for workers clocking greater than 40 hours in one workweek will control. Employers are not required to pay mandatory overtime to workers who clock greater than 8 hours in one day as long as the weekly total does not surpass 40. The workweek typically begins on a Monday and spans seven consecutive days however an employer is permitted to re-define the workweek to begin on any day he or she chooses- as long as the defined workweek remains consistent.

Nebraska Revised Statute section 48-212 requires mandatory meal breaks for certain industries. Unfortunately, the medical and nursing industry is not included in the Nebraska code and the FLSA will control with respect to meal and rest breaks as well. The FLSA does not require employers to provide meal or rest breaks to its employees and may even require employees wishing to eat during a shift to do so while on duty- depending on the nature of the work. Nurses working in fast-paced emergency care jobs may be subject to this requirement. If an employer opts to provide a 20-minute or less meal break for his employees, he must compensate the employee during the break.
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