Travel time counted as break time?

Is a 15 minute break time required for non union employees working at a job site in Illinois even though they take a 30 minute lunch and travel 30-120 minutes to and from the job site? Employees who work in the warehouse take 15 minutes breaks in the am/pm and 30 lunch break.

Posted  03-03-2013

Steve Duggan replies:

Although break times may be required for union employees by a collective bargaining agreement, neither the Fair Labor Standards Act nor Illinois labor laws require short break times for employees, at all. However, if an employer does allow short break times during the working day, the employee must be paid for the time spent on break under both state and federal law. Also, travel time to and from a job site, if it’s not the regular place of work (such as an office or warehouse) for the employee, must be counted as working time.

So, to answer your question, you don’t have to permit short break times for such employees. However, before changing a past practice, even for non-union employees, I recommend that you consult with an employment law attorney in your area.


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Steve Duggan graduated from the Law School at the University of Notre Dame while on active duty in the Air Force. He has extensive experience representing management litigating cases of wrongful termination, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. Steve also has experience in all phases of administrative litigation of unfair labor practice charges, and class and individual complaints of employment discrimination. He has been an instructor of seminars for supervisors and managers on labor management relations and other personnel issues, and for lawyers in basic and advanced trial advocacy courses. Steve came on board with Fair Measures in 1998.