Oklahoma Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Oklahoma labor laws do not differ in respect from the federal guidelines found within the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA requires mandatory overtime pay for employees working in excess of 40 hours per week but does not require overtime pay if an individual daily hour total exceeds eight hours- as long as the entire workweek is not greater than 40 hours. The federal rules define the workweek as seven consecutive days, typically beginning on a Monday and concluding the following Sunday. An employer is free to re-define the workweek in any way he or she believes best fits the needs of the business. An employer may not constantly manipulate or change the defined workweek in an attempt to evade paying overtime.

Similarly, Oklahoma has not enacted specific legislation with regard to meal and rest breaks for employees, including nurses. As such, the FLSA steps in again to provide employers with guidelines and rules with respect to this labor issue. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not provide for mandatory rest or meal breaks for employees, regardless of the length of the shift. Employers and employees often contract otherwise in their employment agreements and employers usually provide 30 minute meal breaks or short rest breaks as practicable throughout a shift. Employers are within their rights to require an employee to eat while on duty if the nature of the employment so requires- as is often the case in nursing jobs.
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