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Modified Break Schedule

Modifying when breaks are taken or allowing additional breaks can be a form of accommodation under the ADA. For example, existing breaks could be divided into smaller increments of time (e.g., 3 five minute breaks instead of one 15 minute break). Or, an employer might allow an employee with a disability to take extra breaks in addition to the 15 minute breaks other employees get. When providing additional breaks as an accommodation, the ADA does not require additional paid breaks beyond what other similarly situated employees receive. Instead, the employee's work hours may be extended to make us the time taken for the extra breaks, or the employee may be able to use leave.

When modifying an employee’s breaks, employers may need to check wage and hour laws. The following Department of Labor opinion letter discusses paid breaks under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act: