Labor Compliance Guide

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

Employees working in Georgia are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged.


Hours worked ordinarily include all the time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years of age or older may work in any workweek. However, covered non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24- hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.


The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days. Employees engaged in executive, administrative, or professional capacities and paid on a salary basis not less than $455.00 per week are exempt from this act and do not have to be paid overtime. Certain computer professionals may also be exempt.


Breast Feeding Break

An employer may provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The employer may make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location (in close proximity to the work area), other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer is not required to provide break time if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

Annual Leave

The FLSA does not require employers to provide vacation time or vacation pay, as these benefits are a matter of agreement between the employer and employee. Employers who offer this and other benefits are strongly encouraged to have written policies that clearly communicate these benefits to your employees.

Minimum Wage

Georgia ‘s minimum wage is $5.15 per hour, however, with some limited exceptions, the federal minimum wage rate applies, which requires that all nonexempt employees be paid at a rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 in a week.

Tips & Gratuities

Employees compensated wholly or partially by tips are not covered by the state’s minimum wage law.

Meal Breaks

Neither the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nor Georgia law requires breaks or meal periods be given to workers. However, many employers do provide breaks and meal periods, even though discretionary with the employer. Breaks of short duration, from 5 to 20 minutes, are common. The FLSA requires that workers be compensated during short break periods; however, an employer does not have to compensate workers meal periods of thirty minutes or more, as long as the workers are free to use the meal period time as they wish and are not required to perform work during that time.

Special Leave

Sick Leave

An employer that provides sick leave shall allow an employee to use such sick leave for the care of an immediate family member; provided, however, that nothing in the Georgia Labor Code shall be construed to require an employer to offer sick leave or to require an employer to allow an employee to use more than 5 days of earned sick leave per the calendar year for the care of an immediate family member. An employee shall not be entitled to use sick leave until that leave has been earned. Any employee who uses such sick leave shall comply with the terms of the employer’s employee sick leave policy.

Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to the main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Funeral Leave

Funeral Leave is based on an agreement between employer and employee.

Jury Duty Leave

Employers may not discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize (or threaten to penalize) an employee for taking leave to attend a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena, a summons for jury duty or any other court order. This protection does not apply to employees who are charged with a crime. Employers may require employees to provide reasonable notice of the absence or delay in reporting to work in order to attend the judicial proceeding. Georgia’s jury duty and court attendance leave law do not require leave to be paid. However, an Attorney General’s Opinion from 1989 states that an employee is entitled to be paid his or her salary while missing work to serve on a jury. (Op. Atty Gen’l No. 89-55)

Military Leave

In addition to USERRA, Georgia law provides reemployment rights for state and U.S. military service members. An employer must restore an employee returning from military service (without loss of seniority or other benefits) to the employee’s former position or a position of like seniority, status, and pay. Reemployment is not required if the employer’s circumstances have changed, making it impossible or unreasonable to do so. Reemployment rights generally apply to employees who leave a position of employment, other than a temporary position, in order to perform a state or U.S. military service. Employees must still be qualified to perform the duties of the position to be eligible for reemployment. In general, employees must apply for reemployment within 90 days after they are relieved from military service. However, employees who leave work to participate in annual training or attend service schools conducted by the U.S. armed forces must apply for reemployment within 10 days after completion of the training or service school. Employees must also submit to their employers a certificate of completion of military service from an officer of the applicable military force. An employee who is restored following military leave must be considered as having been on furlough. These employees may not be discharged without cause within one year after the restoration.

Voting Leave

Employees who are eligible, registered voters must be allowed up to two hours of time off from work to vote in any municipal, county, state or federal political party primary or election. However, leave is not available if the employee’s work hours:

      • Begin at least two hours after the polls open, or
      • End at least two hours before the polls close.

Employees must provide the employer with reasonable notice of the absence. Employers may specify the hours during which the employee may absent

Donor Leave

State employees are allowed up to 30 days of paid leave for organ donation. (§45-20-31).

Last updated on: November 21st, 2019