If your business decides to provide rest or meal breaks to employees, then restrictions from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) must be met.

Not correctly tracking breaks or lunch is a common FSLA violation which can become very costly. It can put you at risk for a lawsuit, Department of Labor penalties and can hurt your employee-employer relationship. With that being said, it is crucial to ensure that your employees and managers understand break and rest expectations.

Each state has different requirements – some states have extensive break requirements, while others are very minimal. Below is a comprehensive list broken down by state of federal and state meal and rest break laws:

Alabama

Meal & Rest Breaks

Alabama only has breaks requirements for employees that are minors. A minor would be an individual who is either 14 or 15 years old. They must be given a 30-minute rest during a shift of 5 hours or more.

Any break that is less than 30 minutes long cannot be treated as an interruption from work.

Alabama Department of Labor

Alaska

Meal & Rest Breaks

Alaska does not have any requirements for employees unless they are a minor. If a minor who works more than 6 hours in a shift they must be provided a 30-minute meal break, which is unpaid. The break should be given after the first hour and a half of work and prior to the start of their final hour of work.

Minors who work a 5-hour shift must also be provided a 30-minute rest break before continuing to work.

Rest and meal breaks can be modified if agreed upon by the employer and employee.

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development

Arizona

Meal & Rest Breaks

The state of Arizona does not require private employers to provide meal or rest breaks to its employees.

Industrial Commission of Arizona

Arkansas

Meal & Rest Breaks

Arkansas does not require that employees take either rest or meal breaks. If an employee is done working, then their employer does not have to pay for their meal. An employee must be free to leave their workstation as needed. Rest breaks that are 20 minutes or less must be counted as time worked.

Children who are under the age of 16 that work in the entertainment industry must be given rest breaks.

Arkansas Department of Labor

California

Breaks

California State law requires that employees receive multiple breaks. These breaks include a meal break, a rest and recovery break, and breaks for employees paid on commission. California state laws also require a day of rest break. Additionally, there are special breaks required by individual California cities.

Meal Breaks

In California, employees who are nonexempt and work at least 5 hours per day must be given a 30-minute unpaid meal break. If an employee works less than 6 hours, then their meal break can be waived through mutual approval of both the employee and employer.

If an employee works 10 hours or more in a day, they must be given a second 30-minute unpaid meal break. If they work less than 12 hours, the second meal break can be ignored. This would require written consent of both the employee and employer.

If an employer fails to supply the required meal periods, then they are required to pay the employee an additional hour of pay at their regular rate of pay for every workday that the meal was not provided.

Employees that work in the healthcare industry and work more than 8 hours can choose to waive one of their meal breaks. The waiver must be in the form of a written document that is voluntarily signed by the employer and employee. The employee can withdraw their waiver any time they’d like with a one day written notice. For the duration of the waiver, an employee must be paid for all working time.

  • 5+ hours – 30-minute unpaid break
  • 6 hours – Break can be waived by mutual consent
  • 10+ hours – Two 30 minute breaks in the shift
  • 12 hours – The second break can be waived by mutual consent
  • Health Care employees can waive their second meal break if working more than 8 hours

The California Supreme Court has issued further clarifications regarding meal and break laws. For example, while an employer is required to provide meals and to relieve its employees of work tasks, the employer is not obligated to ensure no work is being done.

Also, any work done by an employee during a meal, and who has been relieved of work, does not create a burden for premium pay.

If an employee is relieved of their work duties for a meal and the employee still works, then their employer is not required to pay the premium. Please keep in mind, however, that the employer could still be responsible for paying the employee their regular rate of pay. The employer is only required to pay when they knew the employee was still working during their meal break.

Additionally, meal breaks should occur no later than 5 hours into a shift. Meal breaks do not have to be scheduled in 5-hour increments.

Rest Breaks

In the state of California, employers must provide nonexempt employees to take a rest period. If possible, the rest period should be in the middle of the shift. If an employee is not able to take a break at their preferred time, then they must be able to take their break at a different time.

The duration of the rest period the employee receives is based on the length of their work shift. Employees must receive a 10-minute break for every 4 hours they work. If the employee works 2 hours or more, then they must receive a break.

While rest periods are paid time, employers cannot ask the employee to stay on work premises during their rest break. An employee must be relieved of all work-related activities during their rest break.

Commission Employee Breaks

Employees that earn commissions must be given a separate pay schedule for their rest periods. Include in an employees commission agreement – commission-based compensation plans must include a separate pay for rest periods; otherwise, their plan doesn’t comply with state law.

If an employer tracks hourly work done by commission employees and they pay the employee an hourly wage that is an advance on the commission earned, this violates the law if rest periods are part of the “advance of wages” paid.

Day of Rest Requirements

California law says that employees are to receive one day of rest for every seven days worked.

The only exception to this rule is for employees who do not work more 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week.

The Day of Rest requirements allows employees to work longer than six consecutive days as long as the consecutive days roll over into the next work week.

San Francisco Nursing Mother’s Rest Protections

In San Francisco on January 1st, 2018, new nursing mothers break began. Mothers must be provided a reasonable time to express breast milk. The break time must coincide with any other rest breaks to which the employees are required to take. Extra time that the employee needs does not have to be paid by the employer.

An employer must provide a lactation location that is close to the employee’s work area. The area must be separate from the restrooms, and it must include a refrigerator and a sink with running water. Please know that this can be in the same location as the employees work area, but it must be free from intrusion from coworkers and the public.

California Department of Industrial Relations

San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement

Supreme Court Rules on Employer Meal and Rest Breaks

California Labor Code

S.B. 435

S.B. 1360

Colorado

Meal & Rest Breaks

The state of Colorado requires that any employee who works beyond 5 hours be given a 30-minute meal break. If the employee is relieved of work duties, then the meal can be unpaid. Employees must be allowed to do personal activities during this time.

If an employee eats their meal while doing any work activities, then the break must be paid.

Employees in specific industries must be provided a 10-minute break for every 4 hours they’ve worked. The rest breaks should be in the middle of their shift if possible.

Here are the industries that require rest breaks:

  • Retail and Service Occupations
  • Occupations with Food and Beverages
  • Health and Medical Occupations
  • Commercial Support Services

Certain employees are exempt from the requirements for rest breaks in Colorado. This would include administrative, executive, supervisory, professional and outside sales employees. Additionally, property managers, driver helpers, mechanics of motor carries and taxi cab drivers are exempt.

Lastly, volunteer workers and students employed in a work experience study program are exempt. Here is a more comprehensive list:

  • Administrators, executive, supervisors, professional
  • Outside employees
  • Property managers
  • Interstate drivers
  • Driver helpers
  • Loader or mechanics of motor carriers
  • Taxicab drivers
  • Bona fide volunteers
  • Students employed in a work experience study program

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

Delaware

Meal & Rest Breaks

Delaware requires a 30-minute meal break when an employee works at least 7.5 hours a day.

This meal break must occur after the first 2 hours and before the final 2 hours of the employee’s shift.

An employee must be relieved of all work-related duties, and they must be uninterrupted during that time.

Any employee who is under the age of 18 is not allowed to work for more than 5 hours without taking a 30-minute break.

Delaware Department of Labor

District of Columbia

Meal, Rest, and Nursing Mother Breaks

D.C. does not have any specific meal or break periods, but it does have a break requirement for nursing mothers. Employers are required to grant a reasonable break time for mothers. The break can correspond with other breaks and can be either paid or unpaid. An employer must try to provide a sanitary room near their workstation so the employee can express milk. This room cannot be in the restroom.

Employers can be exempted from this requirement if it would cause an undue hardship on the employer’s operations.

District of Columbia Department of Employment Services

Florida

Meal & Rest Breaks

Florida has both meal and rest break requirements for minors. Minors are not allowed to work four consecutive hours or more without a 30-minute break. There are four exceptions.

The first is minors who are 16 or 17 years old and have graduated from high school.

Second, would be for minors who are within the required school attendance age limit which holds a certificate of exemption issued by the school superintendent.

The third exemption is for minors enrolled in a public education institution who qualify for a hardship exception.

The last exemption is for children in domestic service in private homes. This would include children who are employed by their parents.

  • Married person
  • Disability of nonage has been removed by the court
  • Has served or is serving in the armed forces
  • The court finds it in the best interest of the minor to work and approves terms of employment
  • Has graduated from high school or an equivalent

Florida Department of Labor

Georgia

Meal, Rest, and Nursing Mother Breaks

Georgia doesn’t have any specific meal or rest breaks laws. However, the state’s does require a break for nursing mothers and accommodation for religious beliefs.

Nursing mothers must be granted unpaid breaks to express breast milk. An employer must make an effort to accommodate the mother with a room, which is not a restroom, to express her milk privately. The break time can coincide with other breaks.

If providing a nursing mother breaks would disrupt the operations of the business, then the employer is not required to provide the break.

Georgia requires that employers who work on Saturday or Sunday to make reasonable accommodations to the needs of their employees. This includes the employees’ religious, social, and physical needs of the employees who worship.

Georgia Department of Labor

Hawaii

Meal, Rest, and Nursing Breaks

Hawaii’s only break law is in regards to nursing mothers and minors.

Employers must provide a break to nursing mothers for the first year after a child is born. Breaks must be provided when the mother needs to express milk.

Employers must provide a private location that is not the restroom for the employee.

Employers must post notice of this law in a prominent place and inform employees of this right.

Small employers with 20 or fewer employees that can show undue hardship can be exempt from this law.

Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Idaho

Meal & Rest Breaks

Idaho does not have any meal or break requirements.

Idaho Department of Labor

Illinois

Meal & Day Rest Breaks

Illinois has both a meal break and a day of rest requirement.

Employees who work 7.5 hours and beyond must be given a 20-minute unpaid meal break. The break must be given less than 5 hours into the shift.

Employers must provide one day of rest each week. However, there are five exceptions to this requirement:

  • Employees who work less than 20 hours a week
  • Employees needed in the case of a breakdown of machinery or equipment
  • Employees needed for an emergency requiring the immediate service of experienced or competent labor to prevent injury to person, damage to property, or suspension of necessary operations.
  • Employees in agriculture or coal mining
  • Employees who are watchmen or security guards
  • Administrators, executive, and professional workers.

 

Employers can also get permits from the Illinois Department of Labor allowing employees to work seven consecutive days voluntarily.

Before employers can operate on Sunday, they must post, in a conspicuous place, a schedule listing the employees that are working on Sunday. This list must also designate the day of rest for each employee.

Illinois Department of Labor

Indiana

Meal & Rest Breaks

Indiana does not require a meal or rest break unless the employee is considered a minor.

Employers must provide a minor one or two rest periods that total 30 minutes. This is only applicable when they work 6 hours or more consecutively.

The breaks can be taken at any point during the shift.

Employers must also maintain a record of all paid and unpaid breaks to minor employees.

Indiana Department of Labor

Iowa

Meal & Rest Breaks

Iowa does not require meal or rest breaks – the only exception is for minor employees.

Employees that are under 16 years of age must be given a 30-minute break if they work more than 5 hours.

Iowa Workforce Development, Labor Services Division

Kansas

Meal & Rest Breaks

Kansas does not have any meal or rest break laws.

Kansas Department of Labor

Kentucky

Meal, Rest, and Day of Rest Breaks

Kentucky has a meal, rest, and day of rest break requirement.

Employers must provide a lunch break close to the middle of the employee’s shift. This break can be no sooner than 3 hours from the beginning of the shift and no later than 5 hours after the beginning of the employee’s shift.

Additionally, employees must be given a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours of work.

Lastly, employees must receive at least 1 day of rest during every calendar week.

Kentucky Department of Labor

Louisiana

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employees that are under 18 years old must be given a 30-minute meal break.

This break is required anytime an employee works 5 hours or more – The meal break can be unpaid.

Louisiana Workforce Commission

Maine

Meal & Rest Breaks

Maine required both meal and rest breaks. Employees who work 6 or more consecutive hours must be allowed to take a 30-minute consecutive break. If the employee is completely relieved of duties, then the rest time can be taken as unpaid time.

Employers who have 3 or fewer employees on duty at a time are not required to provide this rest period. However, they must allow more frequent shorter breaks for these employees.

Additionally, in any case, that the employee’s break would be a danger to property, life, public safety, or public health, the break is not required.

Another exception is when the employee fits into certain categories. This includes executive, administrative, and professional employees who have an annual salary 3,000 times the state’s hourly minimum wage.

It also includes certain agricultural employees and taxi cab drivers.

Lastly, it includes commission employees whose hours and places of employment are not substantially controlled by the employer.

  • Executive, administrative & professional employees with an annual salary of $3,000 the state’s minimum wage
  • Certain agricultural employees
  • Commission employees
  • Taxicab drivers

Maine Department of Labor

Maryland

Meal, Rest, and Retail Employee Breaks

Maryland has two break requirements.

The first is that minors must get a 30-minute break for every 5 hours worked.

The next is that the Healthy Retail Employee Act requires that retain employees be given a non-working shift break. This would include a 15-minute non-working break when the employee works 4 to 6 consecutive hours. If the employee works more than 6 consecutive hours, then they are entitled to a 30-minute break.

Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

Mississippi

Meal & Rest Breaks

Mississippi has no meal or rest break laws.

Mississippi Department of Employment Security

Massachusetts

Meal & Rest Breaks

In the state of Massachusetts, employees must be given a 30-minute break after working for 6 hours.

Additionally, employees must be granted a day of rest after working for 6 consecutive days. 

Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Domestic Worker Breaks

Domestic workers have separate break entitlements and these are provided for by the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights.

Employers who employ a domestic worker for 40 or more hours a week must provide a rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours each calendar week. They must also provide at least 48 consecutive hours during each calendar month. If possible, that time must allow for religious worship.

The domestic worker can voluntarily agree to work on a day of rest. However, this agreement must be in writing. The domestic worker must also be paid an overtime rate for all hours worked on that day.

It’s important to note that the day of rest counts as job-protected leave from employment.

When a domestic worker does not live on premises and works for less than 24 consecutive hours, then the employer must pay the domestic worker for all hours on the premises.

This means that working time includes all the time the worker is required to be on the employer’s premises. It also includes any time before or after the normal shift needed to complete work.

In addition, that time must include meals, breaks, and sleeping periods unless the worker is free to leave the employers premises. If the domestic worker is free to leave and to pursue personal activities and is relieved of all work activities, then that time does not have to be paid.

When domestic workers are required to be on duty for 24 consecutive hours or more, then the employer and worker must agree to exclude a regularly scheduled sleeping schedule of no more than 8 hours from every 24 hours period.

In addition, all breaks, rests, meal periods, and sleeping periods constitute working periods.

Employers who employ a domestic worker for at least 16 hours or more a week must provide employees with information regarding meal and rest breaks.

This includes information about working hours, meal breaks, and time off.

It also includes the provisions for the days of rest, sick days, vacation days, personal days, and holidays. It must include information about transportation, health insurance, severance, and yearly raises. It must also include information about whether or not these benefits are paid or reimbursed.

Domestic Workers Bill of Rights

Michigan

Meal & Rest Breaks

Michigan requires that minors be given a 30-minute break for every 5 hours worked.

There are no other meal or rest break requirements in Michigan.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

Minnesota

Meal & Rest Mother Breaks

Employees in Minnesota must be given a break to eat a meal. The break can be unpaid if its at least 20 minutes long. If the break is less than 20 minutes, then it can be paid.

Nursing Mother Breaks

Nursing mothers must be provided with an unpaid break each day to express milk for her infant child. The break can run concurrently with any other breaks provided by the employer.

Employers must also make reasonable efforts to provide a room or location that is free of a toilet for the employee to express milk. The location should be in close proximity to work and be in private. It must also include access to an outlet. If the employer makes a reasonable effort, then the employer is held harmless.

Employees must be given access to a restroom break every 4 hours worked.

Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry

Missouri

Meal & Rest Breaks

Missouri does not require meal or breaks to employees.

Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

Montana

Meal & Rest Breaks

Montana has a few requirements around meal and break laws.

If an employer provides rest breaks, then that time must be counted as time worked. Additionally, meal breaks must also be counted as time worked.

The only exception to this rule is if the meal break is 30 minutes long and if the employee is relieved of all work-related activities.

Montana Department of Labor and Industry

New Mexico

Meal & Rest Breaks

New Mexico does not require any specific breaks, but does requires that any breaks that are less than 30 minutes be paid work time.

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions

Nebraska

Meal & Rest Breaks

The State of Nebraska does not require any specific meal or rest breaks.

Nebraska Department of Labor

New Jersey

Meal & Rest Breaks

New Jersey employment law requires that minors must be given at least 30 minutes of break time if they work more than 5 continuous hours.

In addition, the state also requires reasonable accommodations to be made for an employees pregnancy and for nursing mother employees. Nursing mothers must be provided with reasonable breaks and a room to express breast milk. The location accommodations cannot include a toilet stall.

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Montana

Meal & Rest Breaks

Montana has few requirements around meal or break laws. Rest breaks are not required in Montana.

However, if the employer provides rest breaks, then that time must be counted as time worked. Meal breaks must also be counted as time worked.

The only exception to this is if the meal break is at least 30 minutes long and if the employee is relieved of all work duties.

Montana Department of Labor and Industry

New Hampshire

Meal & Day of Rest

Employers must give a 30-minute meal break to any employee who works 5 hours or more. If an employee can eat during working hours, and the employer allows them to, then a meal break is not required.

If a New Hampshire employee works on Sunday, then that employee must be given a 24-hour rest during the following 6 days.

In addition, employers who operate on Sundays must post a list of the employees required to work on Sundays and when their alternative day of rest break is during the week. This list must be posted in the workplace and must be filed with the New Hampshire Labor Commissioner.

There are some employees who are exempt from these break requirements. This includes:

  • Janitors, watchmen, and caretakers
  • Employees engaged in the publication and delivery of newspapers
  • Farm or personal service employees
  • Any labor that is required by an unanticipated emergency
  • Employees in retail stores resort areas, inns, theatres, motion picture houses, hotels, and restaurants.
  • Employees of telegraph and telephone offices

New Hampshire Department of Labor

Nevada

Meal & Rest Breaks

Nevada requires breaks for meals, rest, nursing mothers, and domestic workers.

Employers must provide employees with at least a 30-minute meal break for every 8 hours of continuous work.

In addition, employees must be provided with at least a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours worked in a day. If the employee’s total work time is 3 ½ hours or less, then a break is not required.

However, there are a few exceptions to meal and rest breaks. For example, if only one employee is at a specific place of employment, then the breaks are not required.

In addition, any employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement fall outside these requirements.

Lastly, if the employee has applied and received an exemption from the Nevada Labor Commissioner based on necessity, then breaks are not required to be provided by that employer.

Nursing Mother Breaks

Nursing mother break laws apply to mothers who have a child under the age of 1 year at home. These employees must have a reasonable break time to express milk. This break can be paid or unpaid. Nursing mothers must also be provided with a place that is not a bathroom. The location must be free from dirt and pollution, protected from the view of others, and free from intrusion.

However, if an employer determines that these provisions would cause an undue hardship, then the employer and employee can meet and agree upon a reasonable alternative. If both parties can’t agree, then the employer can require an employee to accept a reasonable alternative provided by the employer.

Further, retaliation to employees who exert their right to a nursing mother break is prohibited.

Employers who have less than 50 employees are not subject to the requirements of the law if the requirements would impose a hardship on the employer.

Domestic Worker Breaks

When a domestic worker resides in the household of the employer, then the employee and the employer can agree in writing to exclude certain breaks from the wages of the employee. These breaks include the following provisions:

  • Meal breaks of at least 30 minutes
  • Sleep breaks if it is no more than 8 hours
  • All periods of complete freedom. These periods must be long enough for the domestic worker to make use of it and the worker must be allowed to leave the premises.

If an unpaid break is interrupted by the employer, then the interruptions must be counted as hours worked.

Employees who are required to work or be at a residential facility for 24 hours or more may have a sleep period of up to 8 hours excluded from the worker’s wages. The employer and employee may agree in writing to have the sleep period excluded. Plus, adequate sleeping facilities must be provided by the employer.

In addition, any interruptions of the sleep period must count as working hours and be paid. If the interruption causes the sleep break to be less than 5 hours, then the entire sleep period must be paid by the employer as wages.

Domestic workers who work 40 or more hours a week must be provided for at least a break of 24 consecutive hours per calendar week. Additionally, they must be provided with a 48 consecutive hour rest every calendar month.

Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner

New York

Break Laws

New York has several break laws including meal break laws, breaks for home health attendants, breastfeeding breaks and day of rest breaks.

Meal Breaks

Employees who work during the lunch period must be allowed at least 30 minutes off for a meal break. Employees who start work before 11:00 am and work until after 7:00 pm must be allowed a second meal break of at least 20 minutes.

In addition, employees who work at least 6 hours between the hours of 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm must be allowed a meal break of at least 45 minutes. This break should be between the beginning and the end of the shift.

However, in a situation where only one employee is on the job or in a specific occupation, the employee may volunteer to work without a break. The employee must be allowed to eat on the job. If the employee requests a meal break, then it must be granted.

Plus, in certain situations, the New York Department of Labor may permit shorter breaks. This will be in writing and must be posted at the main entrance of the workplace.

Break Rules for Home Health Care Attendants

The rules for New York home health care attendants is not a law, but an opinion has been issued by the New York State appeals court.

In NY, home health care attendants who work at a residence in a 24-hour shift, but does not reside there must be paid for all 24 hours. This includes any time awarded to the attendant for rest, meal or sleep breaks.

In contrast, state minimum wage law does not require home health care workers, who are working 24-hour shifts, to be paid minimum wage for rest and meal breaks.

Rest Breaks

Rest breaks in New York State are not required. However, if the break is shorter than 20 minutes, then it must be a paid break and counted as work time.

Breastfeeding Breaks

Employers must allow employees reasonable break time to express breast milk. This break applies for the first 3 years after a child is born. Breaks can be rest or meal breaks and can be paid or unpaid breaks.

Further, employees must be provided with a separate private room to express milk. The room must be in close proximity to the work area.

Employees who use the nursing mother’s break cannot be discriminated against for the use of this break.

Day of Rest

New York requires a day of rest each calendar week for employees working in certain industries. The day of rest must be at least 24 hours. This applies to employees that work in factories, mercantile establishments, hotels, restaurants, and office and apartment buildings.

  • Factories
  • Mercantile establishments aka retail stores
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Office and apartment buildings (only certain employees)

New York Department of Labor

North Carolina

Meal & Rest Breaks

North Carolina requires that employees under the age of 16 be given at least a 30-minute rest break after 5 hours of work.

There are no other required rest or meal breaks in North Carolina.

North Carolina Department of Labor

North Dakota

Meal & Rest Breaks

North Dakota requires all employees who work 5 hours to be provided with a 30-minute meal break. This applies anytime there are 2 or more employees on duty. If the employee is completely relieved of work duties, then the break can be unpaid.

Day of Rest Requirements for Retain Employees

The employment law that requires a day of rest applies to businesses that sell merchandise at retail locations. The employer cannot require an employee to work 7 consecutive days.

In each, 7 consecutive days, the employer must provide employees with at least a 24 hours day of rest break. The time off is in addition to other regular periods of rest allowed during each day worked. Unless it would cause a hardship for the employer, the employer must accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of the employees.

North Dakota Department of Labor and Human Rights

Ohio

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employees in Ohio who are minors must be given a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours worked. This break is unpaid.

Ohio does not have any additionally required rest or meal breaks.

Ohio Department of Commerce

Oklahoma

Meal & Rest Breaks

Oklahoma employees who are under the age of 16 yrs of age must be given a 30-minute break for every 5 consecutive hours of work. In addition, these employees must be given 1 full hour of rest for every 8 consecutive hours of work.

However, there are no other rest or meal break requirements in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Department of Labor

Oregon

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employers in Oregon must offer several types of breaks. Oregon employers must provide breaks to non-exempt employees and to minors.

Non-exempt employees must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes for every shift that is 6 hours or longer. If a shift is 6-7 hours long, then the employee must be given the break between the second and fifth hours of the shift. If the shift is longer than 7 hours, then the break must be given between the third and sixth hours.

In addition, minors must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes. This break must be given no later than 5 hours and one minute after the minor starts their work shift.

Furthermore, non-exempt employees must be given a second meal break if their shift is 14 hours or longer.

The meal breaks can be unpaid, but the employee has to be relieved of all work duties. If the employee is not relieved of all work duties, then the meal break must be paid.

However, it is important to note, that all employees who are 14 or 15 years of age must be relieved of all work duties during the work break. There is no exception to this requirement.

Employees (non-minor) can be excused from the 30-minute meal break if their break would cause undue hardship to the employer’s operation or in other limited circumstances.

All employees must receive a rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours that are worked. Minor employees must be given 15 minutes for every 4 hours worked.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that, in Oregon, breaks are not optional. Employees may not waive their right to a break. Employers can require non-exempt employees to take all their required breaks. Employers can also discipline employees for not taking breaks.

Domestic Workers’ Protection Act

Oregon passed a law regarding domestic workers’ rights that went into effect on January 1, 2016.

As a result, domestic workers in Oregon are required to be given 24 hours of rest every workweek. If the worker agrees to work on the designated day of rest, then they must be paid overtime for those hours.

Plus, any domestic worker who worked an average of 30 hours a week or more the previous week, then the employer must provide the worker with at least 3 paid personal days off.

Domestic workers who live in their employer’s homes must be given several break periods. First, every 24 hours, workers must be given at least 8 consecutive hours of rest and must be provided with an adequate place and conditions for uninterrupted sleep. Second, the domestic worker must be allowed to cook their own food. Employers can place reasonable restrictions based on the religious or health needs of the home’s residents.

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries

Pennsylvania

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employers in the Oil State must provide minor employees a meal break of at least 30 minutes when the employee works 5 hours or more in a shift. There are no other break requirements in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry

Rhode Island

Meal & Rest Breaks

Rhode Island requires most employees to be given at least a 20-minute meal break during a 6-hour shift. Employees who work 8 hours or more must be given at least a 30-minute meal break. The meal breaks may be unpaid.

In addition, Rhode Island protects employees who refuse to work on a Sunday or a holiday. Employers are prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against these employees.

Rhode Island Labor Standards Division

South Carolina

Meal & Rest Breaks

There are no required meal or rest breaks in South Carolina.

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation

South Dakota

Meal & Rest Breaks

South Dakota does not require any specific meal or rest breaks to be given to employees.

South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation

Tennessee

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employers in Tennessee must provide employees with at least a 30-minute meal break when the employee works 6 consecutive hours or more. The only exception to this is when the workplace environment or the nature of the business provides ample opportunities to rest or take a break. The restriction on this rest break is that it may not be scheduled before the shift starts or during the first hour of the shift.

However, if a tipped employee and the employer agree, the rest period may be waived by mutual consent.

Breastfeeding Breaks

Employees who need to express breastmilk must be provided reasonable breaks to express milk. These breaks can be unpaid. Employers must provide the breaks unless it would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer. The break time must run concurrently with any other breaks provided by the employer.

In addition, employers must make a reasonable effort to provide a room, or other location, in close proximity to the work area where an employee can express milk in private. This location cannot be a toilet stall.

Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Tennessee Law (§ 50-2-103(h)(2))

Texas

Meal & Rest Breaks

Texas does not require any meal or rest breaks.

However, employers must provide employees with at least a 24 hour rest period to rest or worship every 7 days.

Texas Workforce Commission

Utah

Meal & Rest Breaks

Utah requires meal and rest breaks for minor employees. Minor employee must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes. This meal break must be no later than 5 hours after the employee starts working.

Plus, employers must pay for the meal break if the employee is not relieved of all work duties during the meal break.

In addition, minors must receive a 10-minute break for every 4 hours worked. Minor employees may not work more than 3 consecutive hours without a break.

Utah Labor Commission

Vermont

Meal & Rest Breaks

Vermont state law doesn’t require specific meal or rest breaks, but it does require that employers provide employees with reasonable opportunities through the shift to use the restrooms and to eat.

Vermont Department of Labor

Virginia

Meal & Rest Breaks

Virginia law doesn’t require any designated rest or meal breaks except for minor employees.

Employees who are under the age of 16 and who work 5 or more consecutive hours must be provided with a meal break. This break should be at least 30 minutes long.

Virginia Department of Labor and Industry

Washington

Meal Breaks

Washington requires employees who work 5 hours to get at least a 30-minute break. This break must be given no earlier than 2 hours and no later than 5 hours after the start of a shift.

And, special rules for minors apply. Employees who are 14 and 15 years old can go no longer than 4 hours without being given a meal period of at least 30 minutes. Employees who are 16 and 17 years old cannot be required to work more than 5 hours without a meal break of at least 30 minutes. This break must also start between the 2nd and the 5th hours of the shift.

Another 30-minute meal break must be provided before an overtime shift that is 3 hours longer than the normal workday.

In Washington, meal breaks can be unpaid as long as the employee is completely relieved of all work duties. If the employee is required to remain on the work premises or at a prescribed place, then their meal break must be paid.

But, what happens if an employee misses a meal break?

The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that an employer is not automatically liable if an employee misses a meal break because an employee can waive the break. Employers can rebut any allegations of break-law violations by showing that no violation occurred or showing a valid waiver.

Rest Breaks

Washington employers must provide employees with a rest break that is 10 minutes long for every 4 hours worked. As must as is possible, the break must be scheduled in the middle of the shift.

Plus, an employee cannot be required to work more than 3 consecutive hours without a rest break. When the nature of the work allows employees to get a 10-minute break for every 4 hours of work, then the employer is not required to schedule rest breaks.

Additionally, minors must be provided with additional hours. Employees who are 14 or 15 years old must be given a 10-minute rest break for every 2 hours of work. Employees who are 16 or 17 years old must be given a 10-minute break for every 3 hours of work.

Washington courts have held that when workers work through their rest breaks, then the missed, entitled breaks time can push workers hours into overtime pay.

Washington Department of Labor and Industries

West Virginia

Meal & Rest Breaks

Employees that are not allowed to eat during work and are not provided the required breaks must be given a 20 minute meal period if they work 6 hours or more.

Any employee under the age of 16 must receive a 30-minute meal break if they work a shift of 5 hours or longer.

West Virginia Division of Labor

Wisconsin

Meal & Rest Breaks

Wisconsin recommends breaks to adult employees and required breaks for minor employees. Adult employees should be given a break of at least 30 minutes for any shift that is longer than 6 hours long.

Additionally, employers in the state should give a meal break for each meal period the employee works through. Those meal periods are the times of 6:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 12:00 am.

Yet, minor employees must be given the above meal break requirements.

Any meal break that is less than 30 consecutive minutes must be counted as time worked and be paid to the employee. Wisconsin requires that employees be paid for all “on duty” meal breaks. These are the breaks where the employee is not completely free of all work duties.

One Day of Rest in Seven

Any businesses that are operating factories or mercantile establishments must provide a day of rest to its employees. Mercantile establishments include any business that is involved in retail trade. Employees must be provided with a day of rest break, that is 24 hours long, every calendar week.

However, there are several employee jobs that are exempt from this requirement. Those jobs include janitors, manufacturers of milk products, canneries and freezers, food manufacturers, and hotel and restaurants. The exception also includes employees whose only Sunday work includes caring for live animals, and

  • Janitors
  • Watchmen
  • Those employed in the manufacturing of cheese or dairy products
  • Those employed in the distribution of the distribution of milk, or cream
  • Those employed in canaries and freezers
  • Those employed by bakeries, flour, and feed mills
  • Employees of hotels and restaurants
  • Those whose only work on Sundays are to care for live animals
  • Maintaining fires
  • Any labor called for by an emergency that could not have been anticipated

Paper and pulp mills day of rest rule does not apply to superintendents or department heads whose work is not manual. But it does apply to machine operators.

Employees can voluntarily waive the one day in seven rest period in writing.

Department of Workforce Development

Wisconsin Labor Law

Wyoming

Meal & Rest Breaks

Wyoming does not have any specific meal or rest breaks laws.

Wyoming Department of Workforce Services

Let Buddy Punch Help!

No matter what type of business you run, there are break and rest laws you have to comply with. With the help of Buddy Punch, you can easily stay in compliance with state and federal laws. Effortlessly keep track of your employees time and attendance and have instant access to employee records in the event they need to be reviewed.