Meal Periods / Rest Breaks FAQ

The federal FLSA does not require employers offer any meal periods or rest breaks to employees.

However, if employers do offer meal periods and rest periods, the federal law dictates when these periods are considered work time. 

Meal Periods – Bona fide meal periods (usually at least 30 minutes) during which the employee is relieved of all duty are not considered work time and do not have to be paid. 

Rest Periods – Short breaks (usually from 5-20 minutes) are considered work time and must be paid.

Which states have laws that require meal breaks and rest periods?

21 states have meal period requirements:  California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia


Which states have laws that require rest periods?

7 states have rest periods requirements: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

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