Thrift store chain didn’t pay workers for short breaks & OT owed $114K When brief rest periods are considered compensable. It’s important to pay employees correctly for all hours that count as time worked, including compensable break time. After a Dept. of Labor (DOL) investigation, one branch of a national thrift store chain came under fire for its pay practices with short breaks. Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire Inc., based in Savannah, GA, violated multiple labor laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Goodwill didn’t pay the correct prevailing wage rates to janitorial employees working on government contracts. According to the DOL, this happened because supervisors were deducting short-duration breaks from their hours worked. Because of this and other violations, including issues with paying overtime and paying workers with disabilities, Goodwill had to pay $114,936 in back wages to 165 employees. Paid time except… Hours worked under SCA are determined by the requirements of the FLSA. And under the law, short breaks, typically lasting 20 minutes or less, should be paid because they primarily benefit employers. Break time beyond 20 minutes may not be compensable if the employer makes it clear that longer breaks are in violation of the rules and employees are aware they’ll be punished for taking excessive break time. More info: