South Carolina Overtime and Meal & Rest Break Laws for Nurses

Under current South Carolina legislation, nurses are not afforded additional or expanded overtime provisions 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 only required 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.

The South Carolina code sections do not specifically designate that rest or meal breaks are obligatory. Since the state laws are unclear on the issue, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act will fill in the gaps to provide employers and employees with guidelines on employment and labor issues. Unfortunately, the FLSA does not currently require employers to provide meal or rest breaks for employees. However, if an employer opts to provide a short rest break (less than 20 minutes) the break must be paid. Meal breaks can be paid or unpaid if the employer decides to provide employees with the opportunity to eat during the shift. In certain fast-paced work environments, such as hospitals and emergency care centers, employers are within their rights to require employees to eat while on duty.
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