Rhode Island Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under Rhode Island General Laws sections 12-4.1 and 5-23-2(h), an employer must provide mandatory overtime pay to an employee who works longer than 40 hours in one workweek. Overtime pay is calculated as one and one-half times the worker’s typical pay rate. The workweek is defined as seven consecutive days, including weekends. The employer is not required to pay an employee who works longer than eight hours in a single shift as long as the employee does not exceed 40 hours in one workweek.

Under Rhode Island General Laws sections 28-3-8, 28-3-14 and 23-13.2-1 the following rules with regard to meal and rest breaks apply to employers with five or more employees. Employers must provide a 20-minute meal break within a 6-hour shift or a 30-minute meal break within an 8-hour shift. Meal and rest break laws do not apply to employers in a health care facility or those with fewer than three employees on any shift. As such, only nurses working in a capacity outside of a health care facility would be protected by these laws. Otherwise, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to cover all labor and employment issues. Currently, the FLSA does not require an employer to provide paid or unpaid rest or meal breaks.
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