Employee Relations Law Journal
"Split Circuits: When are meals compensable under the Fair Labors Standards Act?"
Under what circumstances is an employee’s meal time compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as amended by the Portal-to-Portal Act? The circuit courts are split on the standard for resolving that issue. The Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Tenth, and recently the Third Circuit, have held that an employee is entitled to compensation for meal times where “the office is primarily engaged in work-related duties during meal periods.” This test focuses on which party receives the “predominant benefit” of the mealtime. By contrast, the Eleventh Circuit examines whether the employee has been “completely relieved from duty” during his or her mealtime to determine whether or not he or she is entitled to be paid.