Meal and Rest Breaks

You may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing him/her with a 30-minute unpaid meal break. You owe the employee one hour of pay if the employee is unable to take one or more meal breaks.

You must also give nonexempt employees an opportunity to take a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked, or major fraction thereof.

If one or more meal breaks or one or more rest breaks are not given, you owe the employee one hour of pay for any missed meal breaks and any missed rest breaks for a maximum of two hours per day.

The additional pay for a missed meal or rest break must be included in the employee's next paycheck.

In addition, an employer with employees who work outside cannot require an employee to work during any “recovery period” taken to avoid heat-related illness. Rest and recovery periods are paid breaks and count as hours worked. For more information, see Heat Illness.​

  • Premium Pay for Meal and/or Rest Break Violations

    Premium Pay for Meal and/or Rest Break ViolationsThere has been a great deal of discussion about the premium wage employers owe an employee who misses a meal break and a rest break in one day — is it one hour of pay?  More »

  • Meal Breaks

    Meal BreaksAn employer cannot employ someone for a work period of more than five hours without providing an unpaid, off-duty meal period of at least 30 minutes.  More »

  • Rest Breaks

    Rest BreaksEmployers must authorize and permit rest periods for all nonexempt employees whose total daily work time is at least 3.5 hours.   More »

    ​​Read about a new 2016 court case and 2016 legislation.
  • Meal and Rest Break Best Practices

    Meal and Rest Break Best PracticesPost-Brinker, the employer’s responsibility to have specific meal and rest break policies and to document that the meal break was provided is even more important.  More »