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Labor Standards -- Frequently asked questions about hours

Frequently asked questions graphicHow many hours do I have to work to be considered a full-time employee?
Minnesota law does not define employees as full or part time, rather Minnesota Rules 5200.0170 defines a workweek. A workweek is a fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours, seven consecutive 24-hour periods.

For the purpose of overtime calculation Minnesota Statutes 177.25 states hours worked in excess of 48 hours in a workweek must be paid at one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay.

If you have questions related to eligibility for benefits as a full-time or part-time employee, contact the U.S. Department of Labor's Pension and Benefits office at
(816) 285-1800 (this is not a toll-free phone number).

Can my employer require me to work overtime and fire me if I refuse to work overtime?
The employer has the authority to establish the work schedule and determine the hours to be worked. There are no limits on the overtime hours the employer can schedule. Employees who refuse to work the scheduled hours may be terminated. Advance notice by an employer of the change in hours is not required.

Doesn't my employer have to give me a break?
The state law requires employers to provide restroom time and sufficient time to eat a meal. If the break is less than 20 minutes in duration, it must be counted as hours worked. Time to use the nearest restroom must be provided within each four consecutive hours of work. Meal time applies to employees who work eight or more consecutive hours (see Minnesota Statutes 177.253, 177.254 and Minnesota Rules 5200.0120).

What about nursing mothers?
An employee must be provided reasonable unpaid break time to express breast milk for her child. Breaks already provided may fulfill this requirement. Employers are not required to provide this time if doing so would seriously disrupt operations. The employer must also make reasonable efforts to provide a private area with an electrical outlet for a nursing mother to express her milk, other than a bathroom (see Minnesota Statutes 181.939).

Do I get time off work for school visits?
Every employee is entitled to take up to 16 hours unpaid leave a year to attend their children's school conferences, classroom activities, child care or other early childhood program. Employees may use vacation time (see Minnesota Statutes 181.9412).

For more information

If you don't see your question answered here or want more information about any of these subjects, contact the Department of Labor and Industry, Labor Standards unit, at dli.laborstandards@state.mn.us, (651) 284-5070 or
1-800-DIAL-DLI (1-800-342-5354).

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