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Meal and Rest Break Requirements by State

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

This chart covers meal and rest break requirements. It does not cover other break requirements, such as breastfeeding breaks or days of rest.

Table cells are marked N/A where the state statutes or regulations are silent. In the absence of clear statutory or regulatory guidance about a particular aspect of a meal or rest break, employers should err on the side of caution by providing the break most beneficial to the employee, or consult with counsel.

Except in rare cases in which an employer is not covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or if an employee is exempt from the FLSA but not from state wage and hour laws (see Employee Classification), an employer must comply with federal requirements for meal and rest breaks if they are more favorable to the employee than state requirements. Further guidance about federal requirements can be found in the Determine if an Employee Must Be Paid for Meal Breaks and Determine if an Employee Must Be Paid for Rest Breaks tasks.

Many state meal and rest break requirements are specific to minors. These requirements often go hand in hand with state restrictions on the hours during which minors are allowed to work.