State Laws on Rest Breaks

A handful of states require employers to provide paid breaks to employees during the work day.

Many employers provide employees with breaks during the work day, whether paid or unpaid. This common practice is not required everywhere, however: The federal wage and hour law -- the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) -- doesn't require employers to provide breaks. However, some states do.

Paid or Unpaid?

An employer doesn't have to pay for employee rest breaks unless:

  • State law requires paid rest breaks (see the list below).
  • The employee has to work through the break.
  • The break lasts 20 minutes or less; generally, these shorter breaks are considered part of the employee's work day and must be paid.

Learn more about Overtime Pay.

State Rest Break Laws

Here are the current state rules on rest breaks, for those states that require them. Note that these are the rules for adult employees. A number of states have different rules -- typically, requiring breaks or more breaks -- for employees who are under the age of 18 or those who are under the age of 16.  

California: Employees are entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.  

Colorado:  Employees are entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.

Connecticut: Unless they receive a meal break, employees are entitled to a total of 30 minutes of paid rest breaks for every seven-and-a-half hours worked.  

Kentucky: Employees are entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.  

Minnesota: Employees are entitled to an adequate paid rest break for every four hours worked to use the rest room.

Nevada: Employees are entitled to a paid ten-minute rest break for every four hours worked.  

Oregon:  Employees are entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.

Vermont: Employees are entitled to a reasonable opportunity to use the restroom.

Washington:  Employees are entitled to a ten-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked.

Getting Legal Help

If you haven't received the breaks to which you are entitled, or your employer requires you to work through breaks, consider a consultation with an employment lawyer. A lawyer can review the facts and determine whether your employer is complying with applicable federal, state, and local laws. If not, a lawyer can go over your options and help you decide how to proceed.  

Learn more about Wage and Hour Laws.

FEATURED LISTINGS FROM NOLO
Swipe to view more
NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP ?

Talk to an Employment Rights attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you