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Rest and Lunch Break Laws by State in 2024

Find answers & stay compliant with this state-by-state guide
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Non-compliance with state lunch break laws can result in significant consequences for employers. In states like California, employers who fail to provide compliant meal or rest breaks face hefty fines, wage and hour lawsuits, and other penalties. 

To avoid the costs associated with violations, employers must understand and adhere to state-specific regulations.

This article will explain the specifics of lunch break laws by state in 2024 and introduce Timeero, a GPS-tracking tool designed to simplify break management.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information on rest and lunch break laws by state in the U.S. and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. Labor laws can change frequently and vary by jurisdiction. Always consult with a qualified legal professional or your state's labor agency for specific guidance on compliance.

Are Lunch Breaks Required in the US?

Federal Lunch Break Laws

At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not explicitly require lunch breaks. 

However, it does mandate that short breaks lasting 5 to 20 minutes be compensated as part of the workday.

Breaks longer than 30 minutes are typically meal periods and do not need to be paid, provided the employee is relieved of all duties and free to leave the premises.

State Lunch Break Laws

State lunch break laws often supplement the federal guidelines, offering additional protections for workers. 

Some states mandate employees take meal and rest breaks, while other states only require minors or specific industries to take these breaks.  

State laws vary significantly regarding duration, frequency, and whether breaks must be paid or unpaid.

Can Employees Choose to Skip Their Meal or Rest Break?

In some states, the law requires employers to provide workers with meal and rest breaks, but they can’t force employees to take them. Employees are the ones to decide whether or not they use their breaks.

However, there are some critical exceptions and details to be aware of:

  • States with Mandatory Breaks. In California, employees are legally required to take their meal breaks. Employers can face severe penalties if employees are skipping their breaks or working off the clock during their lunch breaks.
  • Specific Professions. Employees in certain professions, such as healthcare and transportation, may be prohibited from skipping breaks for safety or regulatory reasons.
  • Unpaid Breaks. In states where breaks are unpaid, employees may be more likely to waive their breaks if they are voluntary. However, employers should still document any waivers to avoid potential disputes.
  • Employer Liability. In states where employees can technically waive their breaks, employers can still be liable if they encourage or pressure employees to skip breaks. 

To minimize risks and create a supportive workplace, employers should:

  • Establish Clear Policies. Develop a clear written meal break policy outlining break requirements. The policy should include break frequency, duration, and any applicable waivers.
  • Monitor Compliance. Implement systems to track and monitor employee breaks to ensure compliance with state laws and company policies. Break-tracking apps like Timeero can be invaluable in this regard.
  • Encourage Breaks. While legal requirements vary, maintain a proactive approach to breaks. Promote a culture that values regular rest periods to improve employee well-being and productivity. When necessary, a meal break violation write-up can help you enforce your employee break policy. 

Rest and Lunch Break Laws By State

Alabama 

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law. 

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Alabama law requires that employers provide a 30-minute unpaid rest period for minors under 16 years old who work for more than five consecutive work hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Alaska

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • 14-17-year-old employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal/rest break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Arizona

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Arkansas

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 16 working in the entertainment industry may be entitled to rest breaks.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers can require nursing employees to take lactation breaks as part of their regular breaks to which they are entitled.

California

Meal Breaks:

  • During an 8-hour shift, employees must receive a 30-minute uninterrupted meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours. 
  • Meal breaks must be taken before the end of the employee's fifth hour of work.
  • During the meal break, employees must be relieved of all work-related duties.
  • Employees working more than 10 hours a day must receive a second 30-minute unpaid meal period.
  • If the work shift lasts more than five but less than 6 hours, employees may choose to waive their meal break with mutual consent of the employer and employee. This waiver should be documented.
  • Employers should keep track of their employees’ meal breaks to ensure compliance.

Rest Breaks:

  • Employees must receive a 10-minute paid rest break for every 4 hours of work.

Minor Breaks:

  • Meal and rest break requirements given to adults apply here.

Additional Notes:

  • Employers face a meal penalty equal to 1 hour of premium pay for non-compliant breaks. 
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.
  • Employers must provide cool-down rest breaks to employees working in high heat index conditions (Cal/OSHA rules).

Watch the California Break Law Compliance webinar recording for some excellent expert advice, or read California Meal Break Law in 2024: Your Ultimate Guide to learn about California state requirements.

timeero california breaks

PRO TIP: California meal and rest break requirements are tricky to navigate, and violations can be quite costly. Timeero's California break tracking feature sends reminders when employee breaks are due, allows employees to track and verify their breaks, and notifies managers of non-compliance.  This unique tool helps you stay ahead of potential legal issues.

Colorado

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees in specific industries (retail, service, food & beverage, healthcare, and commercial support services) must receive a 30-minute meal break after working five consecutive hours.

Rest Breaks:

  • Employees in the same industries as those requiring meal breaks must receive a 10-minute paid rest period for every 4 hours worked.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no additional state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees up to 2 years after childbirth.

Check out our article, Colorado break laws, to learn more about specific state requirements.

Connecticut

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees who work up to 7.5 consecutive hours per day must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break at some point after the first two hours of their shift and before the last two hours of their shift.

Rest Breaks:

  • Employers are not required to provide a rest break.
  • Employers may opt out of providing workers with a meal break by issuing paid rest breaks (total of 30 minutes), per every 7.5 hours worked. 

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no additional state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.


Delaware

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees aged 18 and over must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 7.5 consecutive hours.  Meal breaks must be given at some point after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours of work.

Rest Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every 5 consecutive hours of work periods.

Additional Notes:

  • Certain exemptions apply to meal break requirements for adults. Adults over 18 can waive their right to a meal break in writing.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

District of Columbia

Meal Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide lactation breaks for nursing employees. These breaks can be paid or unpaid, and the employee determines the duration (as long as it's reasonable).

Florida

Meal Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break for every 4 continuous hours worked.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

To learn about the laws governing breaks in Florida, check out our Florida Break Laws article.

Georgia

Meal Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks:

  • Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers are required to provide mandatory lactation breaks with pay for a reasonable duration.

Hawaii

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 16 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal or rest break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers are required to provide reasonable lactation breaks for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Idaho

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Illinois

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees (except hotel room attendants in specific counties) must receive at least a 20-minute unpaid meal break after working for 7.5 consecutive hours.
  • Hotel room attendants in counties with a population of 3 million or more must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 7 or more consecutive hours.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 16 must receive a 30-minute paid meal break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employees working shifts of 12 hours or more are entitled to an additional 20-minute unpaid meal break.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Indiana

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors working six or more consecutive hours must receive one or two breaks totaling 30 minutes. These breaks can be unpaid meal breaks or rest breaks.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Iowa

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 16 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Kansas

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Kentucky

Meal Breaks: Employers must provide a "reasonable" off-duty meal period close to the middle of the employee's workday. There is no specific time requirement defined by law.

Rest Breaks: Employees must receive a 10-minute paid rest break every 4 hours worked.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Louisiana

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Break periods shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Maine

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 6 consecutive hours.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors have the same meal break requirements as adults.

Additional Notes:

  • Exceptions apply to meal breaks for small businesses with less than 3 employees on duty.
  • Written waivers for meal breaks may be allowed.
  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Maryland

Meal Breaks:

  • Not required by state law for non-retail workers.
  • Retail workers must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 6 consecutive hours.

Rest Breaks:

  • Retail workers only
    • A 15-minute break after working 4-6 hours.
    • A 30-minute break after working 6-8 hours.
    • An additional 15-minute break for every 5 hours of overtime worked.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 5 hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Massachusetts

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal period after working for 6 hours.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors have the same meal break requirements as adults.

Additional Notes:

  • Specific industries are exempt from the meal break requirement.
  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Michigan

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute paid meal break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Minnesota

Meal Breaks:

  • Employers must provide sufficient time for employees to eat a meal, but the law does not define a specific time requirement.

Rest Breaks:

  • Employees must be given enough time to use the restroom every 4 hours.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no specific state-mandated requirements for meal or rest breaks for minors, but the provision of sufficient meal time and restroom breaks applies to them as well.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Mississippi

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Missouri

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • There are no state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors. However, specific regulations may exist for minors working in the entertainment industry.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Montana

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Nebraska

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees in assembly plants, mechanical establishments, and workshops working 8-hour shifts must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Nevada

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees working shifts lasting at least 8 consecutive hours must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break.

Rest Breaks:

  • Employees working shifts exceeding 3.5 hours must receive a 10-minute paid break every 4 hours (up to a maximum of 4 breaks for longer shifts).

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors have the same meal and rest break requirements as adults.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

New Hampshire

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • After working 5 consecutive hours, minors must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break, which can be extended if needed.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

New Jersey

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute paid meal break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

New Mexico

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

New York

Meal Breaks:

  • Factory Workers. Employees in factory jobs working at least 6 hours must receive a paid lunch break of at least 60 minutes taken between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
  • Non-Factory Workers. Employees in non-factory jobs working at least 6 hours must receive an unpaid lunch break of at least 30 minutes to be taken between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM.
  • Additional Considerations: Employees working shifts that start before 11:00 AM and end after 7:00 PM are entitled to an additional 20-minute unpaid meal break to take place sometime between 5:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Employees working shifts that start between 1:00 PM and 6:00 AM and are at least 6 hours long, are entitled to a 45-minute meal break scheduled around the midpoint of their shift.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

North Carolina

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law law. 

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law law. 

Minor Breaks:

  • Employees under 16 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal or rest break after working for 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

North Dakota

Meal Breaks:

  • Employees must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for five consecutive hours, but only if there are two or more employees on duty at the time.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Ohio

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law for adult employees.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Oklahoma

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

Minors under 16 years old must receive:

  • A 30-minute meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours.
  • A 1-hour unpaid cumulative rest period after working for eight consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Oregon

Meal Breaks: Must receive one 30-minute unpaid meal break for each 8-hour work period.

Rest Breaks: Must receive a 10-minute rest break for every 4-hour work segment or the major portion thereof (any period longer than two hours).

Minors : 

  • Must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for six consecutive hours. Employers cannot assign any work duties during this break.
  • Must receive a 15-minute rest break for every 4-hour work segment or the major portion thereof (any period longer than two hours).

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers.
  • Minors under 16 must be completely relieved of all duties during their breaks.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 18 months after childbirth.
  • Employers must provide employees working in high heat index conditions with heat illness-prevention rest breaks (OSHA’s rules).

To learn about the laws governing breaks in this state, check out our Oregon Break Laws article.

Pennsylvania

Meal Breaks: Not required by the state.

Rest breaks:  Not required by the state.

Minors:

  • A 30-minute unpaid break after working five consecutive hours for minors aged 14-17.

Additional Information:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Rhode Island

Meal Breaks: Employees must receive an unpaid meal break of:

  • 20 minutes if their shift is between 6 and 8 hours long.
  • 30 minutes if their shift is 8 hours or longer.

Meal break requirements apply to businesses with at least 5 employees. Exemptions apply to workplaces with fewer than 3 employees per shift and the healthcare industry.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law. 

Minors: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Employers must provide reasonable lactation breaks for up to one year after childbirth. 
  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.

South Carolina

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

South Dakota

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Tennessee

Meal Breaks: Employers with at least five employees must provide a 30-minute unpaid meal break to employees working for six consecutive hours. Employers may not be required to provide a meal break if the work environment allows ample break opportunities throughout the day.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks:

  • Minors under 18 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for six consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing purposes for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Texas

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minor Breaks: There are no specific state-mandated meal or rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer. This applies to both adults and minors.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Utah

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law. However, according to the Utah Administrative Code, employers may require each full-time workday to include a minimum of 30 minutes of the non-compensated lunch period.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law. However, under the Utah Administrative Code employers may allow for 15-minute paid rest breaks every 4 hours worked.

Minors:

  • Must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for five consecutive hours.
  • Can’t work for more than three consecutive hours without a break (no specific duration mandated by state law).

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Vermont

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law. 

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law. 

Vermont law requires employers to provide all employees with "reasonable opportunities" to eat and use toilet facilities during their work periods.

Minors:

  • No specific requirements.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Virginia

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

 Minors: 

  • Employees under 16 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Washington

Meal Breaks: Must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 5 hours straight. Employees must be relieved of all duties during this break.

Rest Breaks: Must receive a 10-minute paid break for every 4 hour work segment or the major portion thereof (any period longer than two hours).

Minors:

  • Must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working for 5 consecutive hours. Employers cannot assign any work duties during this break.
  • Must receive a 15-minute paid break for every 4 hour work segment or the major portion thereof (any period longer than two hours).

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to one year after childbirth.

For more information, check out our Washington break law resource.

West Virginia

Meal Breaks: Employees must receive a 20-minute unpaid meal break after working for at least six consecutive hours. This applies if employees are not already given breaks or allowed to eat while working.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minors : 

  • Employees under 16 must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working five or more hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to one year after childbirth.

Wisconsin

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minors 

  •  Must receive a 30-minute unpaid meal break after working more than six hours. 

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers.
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing workers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Wyoming

Meal Breaks: Not required by state law.

Rest Breaks: Not required by state law.

Minors: 

There are no specific state-mandated rest breaks for minors.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Guam

Meal Breaks: 

  • An employee scheduled to work 5 hours or more must be provided with an unpaid and uninterrupted meal period of at least 30 minutes.
  • If an employee’s scheduled shift is no longer than 6 hours, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent.

Rest Breaks: 

  • Guam does not require employers to provide rest breaks by law. 

Minors: 

  • After every four hours worked, minors must have a meal/break period of at least 30 minutes.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing employees for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Puerto Rico

Meal Breaks: 

  • Non-exempt employees are entitled to a one-hour unpaid meal break. To avoid the meal break penalty, this break should be taken between the end of the third hour and the beginning of the sixth hour of work. 
  • Employers cannot require employees to waive their first meal period. However, a waiver may be possible for the second meal period if the workday doesn't exceed 12 hours and there's a written agreement between the employer and employee.

Rest Breaks: Puerto Rico does not require employers to provide mandatory rest breaks by law. 

Minors:

  • Minors aged 14 – 17 receive a 1 hour lunch period during a shift of 4 consecutive hours.

Additional Notes:

  • Breaks shorter than 20 minutes are considered compensable work time and must be paid by the employer for all workers (adults and minors).
  • Employers must provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers for up to 1 year after childbirth.

Timeero: Your Solution for Break Tracking and Compliance

Integrating Timeero into your daily workflow can significantly streamline meal and rest break management, helping you proactively address potential violations before they escalate into legal issues or disputes. 

Here's how Timeero can help:

  • Real-time Break Monitoring. Employees can easily track their breaks using the Timeero mobile app, and employers can monitor break times in real-time to ensure compliance with state laws.

timeero break tracking

  • Customizable Break Rules. Employers can set up break rules within Timeero to align with specific lunch break laws according to state and company policies.

timeero break settings

  • California Break Tracker. For businesses operating in California, the California Break Tracker feature ensures compliance by requiring employees to attest to their break usage daily.

timeero california breaks settings
  • Accurate Record-Keeping. Timeero automatically creates timesheet entries for clock-ins, clock-outs, and breaks, providing a tamper-proof record for dispute resolution.

timeero break reporting

  • Proactive Reminders and Sign-offs. The app notifies employees when breaks are due and allows daily sign-offs to acknowledge adherence to break policies.

timeero cal breaks reminders
  • Dispute Resolution and Legal Protection. In a dispute, Timeero's comprehensive audit trail of break times and employee acknowledgments can provide crucial evidence.

  • Privacy and Compliance. Timeero prioritizes privacy by not tracking employee locations during breaks or after clocking out.

To provide a fair and compliant workplace, it’s important that your workforce understands and adheres to both state and federal law regarding breaks. By staying informed about state-specific lunch break laws and using tools like Timeero, employers can ensure they provide their employees with the breaks they deserve while minimizing the risk of costly penalties.

Resolve Break Issues Quickly and Fairly

Timeero tracks breaks, sends reminders, and provides accurate records.
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