What break periods are employees entitled to?

It largely depends on which state you’re working in. At the federal level, there’s no law that entitles employees to breaks of any kind. However, federal law does dictate that employees must be paid for total hours worked, which includes time for eating if the employee is required to eat while continuing work. State-by-State Since […]

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It largely depends on which state you’re working in. At the federal level, there’s no law that entitles employees to breaks of any kind. However, federal law does dictate that employees must be paid for total hours worked, which includes time for eating if the employee is required to eat while continuing work.

State-by-State

Since federal law does not define parameters for breaks, it comes down to state laws.

Alabama, for example, doesn’t have any laws requiring breaks in the workday. Therefore, a 10 hour workday without any breaks is legal.

California, on the other hand, requires both a 30 minute unpaid meal break after an employee has worked for 5 hours, in addition to a 10 minute paid rest break for every 4 hours that an employee is on the clock. As a general rule, the rest periods should be in the middle of the 4 hour work period, but employers are given room to “deviate from that preferred course where practical considerations render it infeasible.”

Final Tip

Be sure to check with your state’s laws to make sure that you understand and comply with its break laws.

Helpful Link:

State Laws on Meal and Rest Breaks – nolo.com

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