US Meal and Rest Break Compliance Laws By State

Derek Jones

Derek Jones

VP of Business Development, Deputy Americas

October 12, 2019

US Meal and Rest Break Compliance Laws By State

Derek Jones, VP of Business Development, Deputy Americas
October 12, 2019


 

Meal and Rest Break Laws By State

There are a number of laws and rules that must be followed when you’re running your own business. If not, you risk a number of consequences that range from a lawsuit to a full shutdown of your business. Here are a handful of areas that you should keep in mind to ensure you’re not breaking any laws or regulations and are following the guidelines of your industry.

  • Food guidance & regulation
  • Health inspections
  • Job discrimination
  • Overtime & minimum wage laws
  • Family leave
  • Disability discrimination
  • Military leave
  • Gender-pay differences
  • Immigration laws
  • Meal and rest break laws

The last area in particular, meal & rest break laws, is especially important for business owners to know and understand in order for them to build and maintain a business that follows regulations. Aside from the fact that they’ll likely face a hefty lawsuit if they don’t comply, businesses actually benefit from having employees take regular breaks each workday. Some of these benefits include:

  • A higher level of engagement among your workforce
  • Lower stress levels among employees
  • Employees that are less likely to experience burnout
  • A stronger employer brand that’s able to attract a higher standard of employee

To help you comply with meal and rest break requirements and ensure you’re building an environment where your employees can flourish, continue reading as we tackle key meal and rest break laws for each state.

Also, if you’d like an easy way to make compliance easier, then take a look at Deputy, an employee scheduling platform that’s able to alert you whenever an employee takes a break that’s too short or misses a break altogether. Watch Deputy in action in the video below:

Even better, you can try Deputy for free by clicking the free trial button below, or you can find out more about how Deputy can help you with meal and rest break compliance.

START FREE TRIAL


Click on your state to be directed to its corresponding meal & rest break laws:


Alabama Meal and Rest Break Laws

Alabama wage and hour laws generally state that employers are to provide a 30 minute meal & rest period to nonexempt employees ages 14 and 15 who are scheduled to work more than 5 continuous hours.

Alabama employers are not required to provide a meal period or breaks to employees 16 years of age and over, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. On the other hand, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (typically 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period and is completely relieved of all duties.

Click here to read more regarding Alabama’s laws regarding meal & rest break laws.


Alaska Meal and Rest Break Laws

Alaska wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide at least a 30 minute break to nonexempt employees ages 14-17 as long as they are scheduled to work six consecutive hours or more. The break must also occur after the first hour and a half of work but before the beginning of the last hour of work. Minors who work for five consecutive hours without a break are entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes before continuing to work.

Alaska employers are not required to provide breaks to employees aged 18 and over. However, if an employer chooses to provide a break, it must pay its employees for the time on break if it is 20 minutes or less. Meal periods provided by employers of over 20 minutes do not need to be paid, so long as employees are completely relieved of all duties and do not perform any work.

Click here to be taken to Alaska’s meal & rest break laws.


Arizona Meal and Rest Break Laws

Arizona doesn’t have any wage and hour laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, as long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Arizona’s meal & rest break laws.


Arkansas Meal and Rest Break Laws

Arkansas wage and hour laws do not require employers to provide meals or breaks to their employees unless they are children under the age of 16 employed in the entertainment industry.

However, if an employer chooses to provide a break period of 20 minutes or less, it must be paid. Additionally, if an employer chooses to provide a meal period (typically 30 minutes or longer), it may be unpaid so long as the employee is completely relieved of all work duties during the meal period.

Click here to learn more regarding Arkansas’s meal & rest break laws. 


California Meal and Rest Break Laws

California wage and hour laws generally require that employers provide nonexempt employees with a meal period of no less than 30 minutes when they work more than five consecutive hours (more than six hours for employees in the motion picture industry in specific situations).

A second meal period is required for employees who work more than 10 hours in a day. The first meal period must be provided no later than the 5th hour of work. The second meal period must be provided no later than the end of the 10th hour of work.

Unless the employee is relieved of all duties during the entire 30 minute meal period and is free to leave the employer’s premises, the meal period must be counted as hours worked and paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. California law only permits employers to provide an “on duty” meal period when the nature of the work prevents the employee from being relieved of all duty and when by written agreement between the employer and employee an on-the-job meal period is agreed to.

An employer must permit employees to take a 10-minute paid rest break for each 4 hours of major fraction thereof worked. A rest period is not generally required where the employee’s total daily work time is less than 3 1/2 hours

Click here to read up on the California Labor Code to learn more.


Colorado Meal and Rest Break Laws

Colorado labor laws require employers doing business in the retail and service, food and beverage, commercial support services, or health and medical industries, to provide their employees with a meal period of no less than thirty minutes when they work more than five consecutive hours. The employee must be relieved of all duties during the entire thirty-minute meal period. This “duty-free” meal period may be unpaid. When it is not practical because of the nature of an employee’s job to permit a “duty-free” meal period, the employee must have permission to consume an “on-duty” meal and must be compensated for the break time.

Colorado employers in the retail and service, food and beverage, commercial support services, or health and medical industries, must provide employees with a ten minute, paid break for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. The break should be in the middle of the shift, if practical.

Colorado does not have any meal or break requirements for employers in industries other than retail and service, food and beverage, commercial support services, and health and medical, thus the federal rules apply. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to read more regarding Colorado’s meal & rest break laws.


Connecticut Meal and Rest Break Laws

Connecticut wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide their nonexempt employees a meal period of at least thirty consecutive minutes if they have worked for 7 1/2 or more consecutive hours. Such period shall be given at some time after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours. The Labor Commissioner will exempt an employer from this requirement if one of the following conditions is present:

  • complying with this requirement would endanger public safety
  • the duties of the position can only be performed by one employee
  • the employer employs fewer than 5 employees on that shift at that one location (this only applies only to employees on that particular shift); or
  • the employer’s operation requires that employees be available to respond to urgent conditions and that the employees are compensated for the meal period.

There are no state laws requiring an employer to provide a break. However, in accordance with federal law, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid.

Click here to read more regarding Connecticut’s wage and hour laws.


Delaware Meal and Rest Break Laws

Delaware wage and hour laws generally require employers to grant a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes to nonexempt employees 18 years of age or older works 7 1/2 or more consecutive hours. The meal break may be unpaid, except under rare circumstances. Meal breaks must be given sometime after the first two (2) hours of work and before the last two (2) hours of work. This rule does not apply when:

  • The employee is a professional employee certified by Delaware’s State Board of Education and employed by a local school board to work directly with children.
  • There is a collective bargaining agreement or other employer-employee written agreement, which provides otherwise.

The Secretary of Labor has issued rules granting exemptions when:

  • Compliance would adversely affect public safety
  • Only one employee may perform the duties of a position
  • An employer has fewer than five employees on a shift at one location (the exception would only apply to that shift).
  • Continuous nature of an employer’s operations such as chemical production or research experiments requires employees to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and the employees are compensated for their meal breaks.

Where exemptions are allowed, employees must be allowed to eat meals at their workstations or other authorized locations and use restroom facilities as reasonably necessary.

Delaware employers must grant a meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes to employees under the age of 18 who work more than 5 continuous hours.

Click here to learn more regarding Delaware’s meal & rest break laws.


District of Columbia Meal and Rest Break Laws

District of Columbia wage and hour laws do not have any meal or break requirements for employers, thus the federal rules apply. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Delaware’s meal & rest break laws.


Florida Meal and Rest Break Laws

Florida wage and hour laws generally require employers to grant a meal period of at least 30 minutes to nonexempt employees under the age of 18 who work for more than 4 hours continuously.

Florida does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees 18 years of age or older, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Florida’s meal & rest break laws.


Georgia Meal and Rest Break Laws

Georgia wage and hour laws do not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Georgia’s meal & rest break laws.


Hawaii Meal and Rest Break Laws

Hawaii wage and hour laws generally require an employer to grant a meal period of at least 30 minutes to nonexempt employees 14 or 15 years of age who work more than 5 consecutive hours.

Hawaii does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees 16 years of age or older, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Hawaii’s meal & rest break laws.


Idaho Meal and Rest Break Laws

Idaho wage and hour laws do not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Idaho’s meal & rest break laws.


Illinois Meal and Rest Break Laws

Illinois law generally requires employers to permit nonexempt employees who work 7 1/2 or more continuous hours to take a meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period may be unpaid and it must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after beginning work. Moreover, an employer must permit employees to take at least a twenty minute meal period for each continuous 7 and a half hours they work. Different rules apply to hotel room attendants in Cook County.

Illinois does not have a law regarding rest breaks and thus the federal standard applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid.

For nonexempt Illinois employees under the age of 16 who work more than 5 continuous hours, employers must generally provide a meal period of at least 30 minutes.

Click here to read more on the meal & break laws for Illinois.


Indiana Meal and Rest Break Laws

Indiana wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide either one or two rest periods totaling thirty minutes to nonexempt minor employees under the age of eighteen if scheduled to work at least six consecutive hours.

Indiana does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt adult employees eighteen years of age or older, so the federal rule applies in their case. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more about Indiana’s meal & rest break laws.


Iowa Meal and Rest Break Laws

Iowa wage and hour laws generally require employers to grant a meal period of at least thirty minutes to nonexempt minor employees under the age of sixteen who  work 5 or more consecutive hours.

Iowa does not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees sixteen years of age or older, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than twenty minutes must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Iowa’s meal & rest break laws.


Kansas Meal and Rest Break Laws

Kansas wage and hour laws do not have any laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees, so the federal rule applies in their case. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid as long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to read more regarding Kansas’s meal & rest break laws.


Kentucky Meal and Rest Break Laws

Kentucky wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees with a rest period of at least 10 minutes for each four hours worked. The rest period is a paid break.

Employers must also generally provide a reasonable period for a meal as close to the middle of the employee’s work shift as possible. Employees can’t be required to take a meal break sooner than three hours into the shift, or later than 5 hours after the shift begins. A meal period does not have to be paid so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties during the break.

Nonexempt minors under 18 years of age generally can’t work more than 5 hours continuously without a 30-minute meal period.

Click here to read more regarding Kentucky’s meal & rest break laws.


Louisiana Meal and Rest Break Laws

Louisiana wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide a 30-minute meal period to nonexempt employees under the age of eighteen years who work 5 or more consecutive hours. The meal period generally does not need to be paid so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties.

Louisiana doesn’t have any generally applicable laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees eighteen years of age or older, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (typically thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Louisiana’s meal & rest break laws.


Maine Meal and Rest Break Laws

Maine’s wage and hour laws generally require employers to give nonexempt employees the opportunity to take an unpaid break of at least 30 consecutive minutes if the employee works more than 6 consecutive hours at a time if three or more people are on duty. An employee and employer may negotiate for more or fewer breaks, but both must agree (this should be put in writing). According to federal law, if an employer grants a non-meal rest break (usually twenty minutes or fewer), the break must be paid.

Click here to learn more regarding Maine’s meal & rest break laws.


Maryland Meal and Rest Break Laws

Maryland’s wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees under the age of 18 who work more than 5 consecutive hours with a 30-minute break.

The Healthy Retail Employee Act requires certain employers in the retail industry to provide employees with breaks. The length of the break depends on the duration of the employee’s shift.

Click here to learn more regarding Maryland’s meal & break laws.


Massachusetts Meal and Rest Break Laws

Under Massachusetts wage and hour laws, most nonexempt employees must be given a 30-minute break if they work more than 6 hours during a calendar day. In addition, many employees must be given a day of rest after working 6 consecutive days. The day of rest is defined as 24 hours of rest and must include the interval from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Click here to read up on Massachusetts laws regarding meal & rest breaks.


Michigan Meal and Rest Break Laws

Michigan wage and hour laws generally require that employees provide a 30-minute break to nonexempt employees who are under the age of 18 if they work more than 5 hours continuously. Other than that, there are no other meal or rest break requirements in Michigan so federal rules would apply.

Click here to learn more regarding Michigan’s meal & rest break laws.


Minnesota Meal and Rest Break Laws

Minnesota wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees who work 4 consecutive hours or more with bathroom breaks as well as enough time to eat a meal. If the break is less than 20 minutes, it must be paid. Time to use the nearest restroom must be provided within every 4 consecutive hours of work. In addition, nonexempt employees who work 8 or more consecutive hours must be permitted sufficient time to eat a meal. A bona fide meal period is generally 30 minutes or more but a shorter period may be adequate under special conditions.

Click here to learn more regarding Minnesota’s meal & rest break laws.


Mississippi Meal and Rest Break Laws

Mississippi wage and hour laws do not generally require an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees, so in their case, the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Mississippi’s meal & rest break laws.


Missouri Meal and Rest Break Laws

Missouri wage and hour laws do not generally have any rules requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees, so in their case, the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to read more regarding Missouri’s meal & rest break laws.


Montana Meal and Rest Break Laws

Montana wage and hour laws do not generally have any rules requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to nonexempt employees, so in their case, the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Montana’s meal & rest break laws.


Nebraska Meal and Rest Break Laws

Nebraska wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees in assembly plants, mechanical establishments, and workshops at least 30 consecutive minutes for  lunch in each 8-hour shift. Aside from those industries, employers are not generally required to offer any specific breaks to their employees.

Click here to learn more regarding Nebraska’s meal & rest break laws.


Nevada Meal and Rest Break Laws

Nevada wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt 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 or major portion thereof. If an employee’s total work time is less than 3 1/2 hours, then a rest break is not generally required.

As usual, exceptions exist. For example, if only one employee works at a specific place of employment, then the breaks may not be required. In addition, any employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement may fall outside these requirements.

Click here to learn more regarding Nevada’s meal & rest break laws.


New Hampshire Meal and Rest Break Laws

Under New Hampshire wage and hour laws, employers generally cannot require that an employee work more than five consecutive hours without granting a thirty minute lunch or eating period. If the employer cannot allow thirty minutes, the employee must be paid if they are eating and working at the same time. In accordance with federal law, if an employer chooses to provide additional breaks, they must be paid if they are of the type usually lasting less than twenty minutes.

Click here to learn more regarding New Hampshire’s meal & rest break laws.


New Jersey Meal and Rest Break Laws

New Jersey wage and hour laws generally require that employers must provide nonexempt minor employees with at least 30 minutes of break time if they work more than 5 continuous hours.

Click here to learn more regarding New Jersey’s meal & rest break laws.


New Mexico Meal and Rest Break Laws

New Mexico wage and hour laws do not generally require employers to provide a meal or rest break to their employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding New Mexico’s meal & rest break laws.


New York Meal and Rest Break Laws

New York wage and hour laws require different types of meal and rest breaks for different industries. Generally, every person employed in or in connection with a mercantile or other establishment must be allowed at least 30 minutes for the noonday meal. Employees who work a shift of more than 6 hours extending over the noonday meal period (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) are entitled to at least 30 minutes off within the noonday meal period. An employee whose shift begins before 11 a.m. and continues until after 7 p.m. must be allowed an additional meal period of at least 20 minutes between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Every person employed for a period or shift of more than 6 hours, starting between 1 p.m. and 6 a.m., must be allowed at least a 45-minute meal period, taken midway between the beginning and end of the shift.

Different rules may apply to factory employees and home health attendants.

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.

Rest breaks are not generally required for employers in the state of New York.

Click here to learn more regarding the meal & rest break laws for New York.


North Carolina Meal and Rest Break Laws

North Carolina wage and hour laws generally require that nonexempt employees under the age of 16 be given at least a 30-minute meal break if they work more than 5 consecutive hours. Aside from that, there are no other required rest or meal breaks that are generally required by North Carolina.

Click here to learn more regarding the meal & rest break laws for North Carolina.


North Dakota Meal and Rest Break Laws

North Dakota wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees who work a shift exceeding 5 hours with a 30-minute meal break when there are two or more employees on duty. The meal period may be unpaid if it is at least 30 minutes and the employee is completely relieved of all duties. An employer is generally not required to provide any other breaks. However, if they do, the breaks must be paid if they are less than thirty minutes.

Click here to learn more regarding North Dakota’s meal & rest break laws.


Ohio Meal and Rest Break Laws

Employees who are nonexempt minors must be given a 30-minute break if they work more than 5 consecutive hours. This break is unpaid. Ohio does not have any additionally required rest or meal breaks.

Click here to read more regarding Ohio’s meal & rest break laws.


Oklahoma Meal and Rest Break Laws

Oklahoma wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees under the age of sixteen a 30-minute rest period if they work more than 5 consecutive hours. Moreover, employers must provide nonexempt employees under sixteen years of age a one-hour cumulative rest period for each eight consecutive hours worked. Oklahoma doesn’t have any generally applicable laws requiring an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees who are sixteen years of age or older, so the federal rule applies in this circumstance.

Click here to read more regarding Oklahoma meal & rest break laws.


Oregon Meal and Rest Break Laws

Oregon wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees with at least a 30-minute unpaid meal period for each work period between 6 and 8 hours. The break must be an uninterrupted period in which the employee is completely relieved of all duties.

No meal period is required if the work period is less than six hours. If the work period is seven hours or less, the meal period is to be taken between the second and fifth hour worked. If the work period is more than seven hours, the meal period is to be taken between the third and sixth hour worked. Tipped employees may waive meal breaks if certain conditions are met. A second meal break is required for shifts of 14 hours or longer.

Oregon employers must also give nonexempt employees that are 18 years of age or older with a paid, uninterrupted 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked or major portion thereof (2 ½ hours). The rest period must be provided approximately in the middle of each 4 hour work period. Minors must be provided with 15-minute rest breaks, rather than 10

Click here to read more regarding Oregon’s meal & rest break laws.


Pennsylvania Meal and Rest Break Laws

Pennsylvania wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide a 30-minute break period to nonexempt employees ages fourteen through seventeen who work more than 5 consecutive hours. Also, Pennsylvania doesn’t generally require employers to give breaks to nonexempt employees aged eighteen or over. If an employer does choose to offer employees a break and it lasts less than 20 minutes than it must be paid.

Click here to learn more regarding Pennsylvania’s meal & rest break laws.


Rhode Island Meal and Rest Break Laws

Rhode Island wage and hour laws require that most nonexempt 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. However, the meal breaks may be unpaid if employees are completely relieved of all duties.

Click here to learn more regarding Rhode Island’s meal & rest break laws.


South Carolina Meal and Rest Break Laws

South Carolina wage and hour laws do not generally require an employer to provide a meal period or rest breaks to employees, so the federal rule applies in their case. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding South Carolina’s meal & rest break laws.


South Dakota Meal and Rest Break Laws

South Dakota wage and hour laws do not generally require an employer to provide a meal period or rest breaks to nonexempt employees, so the federal rule applies in their case. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding South Dakota’s meal & rest break laws.


Tennessee Meal and Rest Break Laws

Tennessee wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees who work six consecutive hours with a 30-minute unpaid break, except in workplace environments where the nature of the business provides for ample opportunity to rest or take an appropriate break. The break must not be scheduled during or before the 1st hour of scheduled work. The law also requires minors to have a 30-minute unpaid break or meal period if scheduled to work 6 consecutive hours. If the employee chooses to provide additional breaks, they must be paid if they last less than 20 minutes.

Click here to learn more regarding Tennessee meal & rest break laws.


Texas Meal and Rest Break Laws

Texas wage and hour laws do not generally require an employer to provide a meal period or breaks to employees, thus the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Texas meal & rest break laws.


Utah Meal and Rest Break Laws

Utah wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide a meal period of not less than thirty minutes to nonexempt employees under the age of eighteen. The meal period must occur no later than 5 hours after the workday began. Employers must also generally provide a rest break of at least ten minutes to nonexempt employees under the age of eighteen for every 4 hours worked (or major fraction thereof). A minor cannot be required to work more than 3 consecutive hours without a 10-mintue rest period.

Utah does not generally require employers to provide breaks, including lunch breaks, for workers eighteen years old or older. An employer who chooses to provide a break in excess of twenty minutes does not have to pay wages for lunch periods or other breaks if the employee is free to leave the worksite, in fact takes their lunch or break, and the employee does not actually perform work. According to federal law, breaks twenty minutes or shorter typically must be paid.

Click here to learn more regarding Utah’s meal & rest break laws.


Vermont Meal and Rest Break Laws

Under Vermont wage and hour laws, an employer must generally provide its employees with “reasonable opportunity” to eat and use toilet facilities in order to protect the health and hygiene of the employee. Other than that, the federal rules apply. The federal rules do not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks, usually of the type lasting less than 20 minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually 30 minutes or more) do not need to be paid, so long as the employee is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to learn more regarding Vermont’s meal & rest break laws.


Virginia Meal and Rest Break Laws

Virginia wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide a lunch period of at least thirty minutes to nonexempt employees under 16 year ages fourteen and fifteen when scheduled to work for more than five hours continuously. Virginia does not generally require employers to provide breaks, including lunch breaks, for workers sixteen years old or older. An employer who chooses to provide a break in excess of twenty minutes does not have to pay wages for lunch periods or other breaks if the employee is free to leave the worksite, takes their lunch or break, and the employee does not actually perform work. According to federal law, breaks twenty minutes or shorter usually must be paid.

Click here to read more regarding Virginia’s meal & rest break laws.


Washington Meal and Rest Break Laws

Washington wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes for each four hours worked. The rest period must be scheduled as near as possible to the middle of the work period. An employee cannot be required to work more than 3 hours without a rest period.

Employers must also generally provide at least a thirty minute meal period if a nonexempt employee works more than five hours in a shift. Employees must be at least two hours into the shift before the meal time can start and the meal time cannot start more than five hours after the beginning of the shift. Employers are not required to pay for meal periods if workers are free from all duties for their entire meal period. Workers must be paid during their meal break when:

  • They are required or allowed to remain on duty
  • They are required to be on-call at the business premises or designated worksite to be available to return to duty even if
  • They are not in fact called back to duty
  • They are called back to duty during their meal period even though they normally are not on call during the meal period

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries permits employees to voluntarily waive meal period requirements. Different rules apply to nonexempt minor employees.

Click here to read more regarding Washington’s meal & rest break laws.


West Virginia Meal and Rest Break Laws

Under West Virginia wage and hour laws, in situations where employees are not afforded necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat while working, employers must provide their nonexempt employees who work 6 or more hours a meal break of least 20 minutes at times reasonably designated by the employer. Other rest periods, granted at the discretion of the employer, must be paid if they last less than twenty minutes. Employers must provide nonexempt minor employees who work more than 5 hours continuously with a lunch period of at least thirty minutes if scheduled to work more than five hours.

Click here to read more regarding West Virginia’s meal & rest break laws.


Wisconsin Meal and Rest Break Laws

Wisconsin wage and hour laws generally require employers to provide nonexempt employees under the age of eighteen who work more than 6 consecutive hours with at least a 30-minute duty-free meal period. The meal period must begin reasonably close to 6 am, noon, 6 pm, or midnight, or approximately midway through any work period. 

Wisconsin does not generally require employers to provide meal and rest breaks to nonexempt workers eighteen years of age and older. An employer who chooses to provide a break in excess of thirty minutes does not have to pay wages for the break period if the employee is free to leave the worksite and the employee does not actually perform work. Though, breaks lasting less than thirty minutes must be paid.

Click here to read more regarding Wisconsin’s meal & rest break laws.


Wyoming Meal and Rest Break Laws

Wyoming wage and hour laws do not generally require an employer to provide a rest or meal break to nonexempt employees, so in this case the federal rule applies. The federal rule does not require an employer to provide either a meal period or breaks. However, if an employer chooses to do so, breaks usually lasting less than twenty minutes, must be paid. Meal or lunch periods (usually thirty minutes or more) do not need to be paid, as long as the employee is completely relieved of all duties and is free to do as they wish during the meal or lunch period.

Click here to read more regarding Wyoming’s meal & rest break laws.


Last thoughts

Each state has their own specific rules and regulations in regard to how they handle their meal and rest breaks, so make sure you’re very aware of what the laws are in your state to ensure you are doing what you’re supposed to.

Meal and Rest Break Laws By State

To make compliance with meal and rest break requirements simpler, try out Deputy, an employee scheduling platform. To see it in action for yourself, click on the button below to begin your free trial!

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Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are of a general nature only and are based on Deputy's interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. Deputy is not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article and no warranty is made by us concerning the suitability, accuracy or timeliness of the content of any site that may be linked to this article. Deputy disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Derek Jones
Derek is the VP of Business Development in North America and has 16+ years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies.
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