Labor Law Information Resource Center
Shift2Work's Rest Break Monitor
The length and frequency of the breaks vary state by state, but a common practice is a minimum 10-minute rest break for each 4 hours worked.
Shift2Work’s flexible setup allows for custom break length settings to fit your company's needs. A unique and helpful feature of our service is that employees are paid only for the amount of time for a rest break. Any time that may be taken beyond the set amount of break time is not paid.
An employee working a four-hour shift is provided with a 10 rest break. The employee actually takes 15 minutes. Shift2Work’s program records the 10 min. of paid break time and the extra 5 min. is unpaid time. So the time worked is 3 hours, 55 minutes instead of the full 4 hours.
How Shift2Work’s service helps Employers
➮ Easy display options to choose either or both lunch and rest break buttons for employee to use
➮ Rest breaks of up to 20 minutes are considered paid time, unlike a meal break and will be accurately recorded automatically by Shift2Work’s system.
How Shift2Work Can Help
Shift2Work’s time-clock service accurately tracks all employee clock-in/out activity: the beginning/ending of work shifts, rest breaks, and meal breaks.
Shift2Work’s Lunch Monitor Alert can enhance compliance with state labor laws & reduce unauthorized overtime. Click here for more information about this feature.
**For informational purposes only. Not to be considered as legal advice on this or any matter. Shift2Work recommends web site users/readers seek competent legal counsel on all legal matters.
Short Rest Breaks
Federal law does not require short rest or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks, they usually last about 5 to 20 minutes. Employers can set a specified period of time allowed for a short break. Recording time spent on break is at the discretion of the employer.
Federal Laws: Department of labor states "Employers that authorize short breaks or rest periods must count them as hours worked." Rest periods of short duration, usually 20 minutes or less, are common in industry (and promote employee efficiency) and are customarily paid for as working time.
See Department of Labor Regulation on Rest Break Periods
Some states require paid short rest breaks that are less than 20 minutes at one time. These short breaks are considered part of your work day and must be paid. The time spent on a break is counted as regular work time and is also included in the overtime calculations.
State Law: Currently only a handful of states require employers to allow employees to take rest breaks throughout the work day. A ten minute paid break for every four hours worked is the most common practice. A few states allow employers to choose between giving a lunch break or rest breaks, or require only that employers provide employees enough break time to use the restroom. Click on the button below to go to the Department of Labor's website to find a list of state rest break laws.
Different Rules Apply to Younger Workers.
Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that 1) The authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, and 2) That any extension of the break is contrary to the employer's rules and will be punished.
If you aren't allowed to take legally required breaks, or you're required to work through your breaks without getting paid, contact your state labor department.
Under State Law for Adult Employees
in Private Sector
STATE Maximum Hours Before Lunch Break Required Length of Lunch Break Maximum Hours Before Rest Break Required Length of Rest Break California 5 30 minutes Each 4 hour work period or major fraction thereof 10 minutes Colorado 5 30 minutes Midway through each 4 hour work period or major fraction thereof 10 minutes Connecticut If working at least 7.5 consecutive hours: After 1st two hours, before last two hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Delaware If working at least 7.5 consecutive hours: After 1st two hours, before last two hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Illinois For employees who work 7 ½ hours or more, after 5 hours At least 20 minutes Break rules appear to apply only to hotel room attendants N/A Kentucky Between 3rd and 5th hour of work. Ordinarily 30 minutes Within each 4 hour block of work time 10 minutes Maine 6 consecutive hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Maryland 6 consecutive hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Massachusetts 6 consecutive hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Minnesota Sufficient unpaid time for employees who work 8 consecutive hours or more Not stated Within each 4 consecutive hours of work Not stated Nebraska Within each 8-hour shift 30 minutes N/A N/A Nevada During 8 continuous hours 30 minutes Each 4 hours worked or major fraction thereof 10 minutes New York Noon-day period 60 minutes N/A N/A North Dakota After 5 hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Oregon Less than 7 hours: between 2nd & 5th hour; more than 7 hours, between 3rd & 6th hour 30 minutes Every 4-hour segment or major portion thereof 10 minutes Rhode Island Up to 6 hours
N/A N/A Tennessee 6 or more consecutive hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Vermont Employees are to be given “reasonable opportunities” during work periods to eat & use toilet facilities Not stated Employees are to be given “reasonable opportunities” during work periods to eat & use toilet facilities Not stated Washington 5 consecutive hours 30 minutes For each 4-hour work period, to be scheduled as near as possible to midpoint of each work period 10 minutes West Virginia 5 consecutive hours 30 minutes N/A N/A Guam 5 30 minutes N/A N/A Puerto Rico After end of 3rd but before beginning of 6th consecutive hour 60 minutes N/A N/A
Other states: Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas
This table is intended to provide a quick overview of various state laws regarding meal & rest breaks. Since almost every state has a variety of rules for different jobs & industries, Shift2Work recommends that employers reference the specific Labor Laws for their state.
1. States not listed do not require paid rest periods. All of the nine states with paid rest period requirements also have meal period requirements.
2. Different rules apply for hotel room attendants.
3. Shorter time period permitted under special conditions.
4. Federal Law states that under 20 minutes is a rest break; 21+ minutes is a lunch break. Check specific statute for Minnesota.
5. A number of different rules apply - check specific statutes for New York.
6. Federal Law states that under 20 minutes is a rest break; 21+ minutes is a lunch break. Check specific statute for Vermont.
7. Washington State. Although agricultural labor is excluded from the listed requirement of general application, a separate regulation requires a paid 10-minute rest period in each 4-hour period of agricultural employment.
Not displayed in table are exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees, and for outside salespersons.
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Check Your State Law
for Minimum Rest Break Period
Check Your State Law
for Minimum Meal Break Period
Shift2Work tries to ensure that the information provided on these pages is accurate but makes no guarantee thereof. Individuals should consult their particular state labor office for official information.