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.


State Employees Entitled to Break Duration Additional Provisions Exemptions
Federal Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under federal law. N/A Federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Alabama Minors ages 14 and 15 who work more than five hours are entitled to a break. At least 30 uninterrupted minutes. N/A N/A
Alaska Minors under 18 who are scheduled to work for six or more consecutive hours are entitled to a break. At least 30 minutes. The break may be scheduled at the employer's convenience, but it must occur after the first hour and a half of work and before the beginning of the last hour of work. The break requirements may be may be modified by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or by mutual agreement between the employer and the employee. Family members and individuals employed in fishing are exempt.
Minors under 18 who work for five consecutive hours without a break are entitled to a break. At least 30 minutes. The break must be provided before the employee returns to work.
Arizona Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Arizona law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Arkansas Minors working in the entertainment industry who are at the place of employment for at least five and a half hours are entitled to a meal break. Unless the employer obtains special permission, minors working in the entertainment industry also must have at least a 12-hour rest break between work days. 30 to 60 minutes. N/A For one-time performances, an employer may request the Arkansas Department of Labor to reduce the required rest period to 10 hours between work days.
California Employees who work more than five hours a day are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal period must begin no later than the end of an employee's fifth hour of work. A second meal period is due after 10 hours worked in a single day. Employees are ordinarily required to be relieved of all duty during their meal periods. Employees do not need to be paid for meal periods. Employees should clock in and out for meal periods, or note the start and end time for meal periods on their time sheets. There is no requirement that employees get a meal break every five hours (regardless of the total number of hours worked). There is no prohibition on taking meal periods early in a shift, although this can result in an employee working more than five hours after the meal. Meal periods may be waived if the employee will work no more than six hours total in the day, and the employee and employer agree to waive the meal period. If the employee works between 10 and 12 hours, the second meal period may be waived if the first meal period was not waived. There are somewhat different meal break rules for employees in the motion picture and broadcasting industries. There are also exemptions for employees in certain industries (including construction, commercial drivers, security services, and electricity or gas corporations or public utilities) if they are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement meeting certain requirements. Employers in these industries should review the statutes and regulations carefully or seek detailed legal advice.
Employees who work for three and a half hours or longer are entitled to one paid rest break for every four-hour period worked. At least 10 minutes. The rest breaks should be taken, to the extent practicable, in the middle of each work period, but no specific timing is required. In general, if an employee is working an eight-hour shift, one rest break should be before the meal break, and one should be after. An employee who works a six-and-one-half hour shift is entitled to a meal break and a rest break, but as long as the meal break begins before the end of the fifth hour of work, and the employee is provided with both breaks, it does not matter whether the meal break or rest break comes first. Rest breaks count as time worked, and so employees must be paid for this time. Employers are also required to provide suitable resting facilities - such as a break area or kitchen - other than a restroom. If the employer does not "authorize and permit" an employee to take a rest period, the employee is entitled to one hour of pay at the employee's regular rate of pay for each workday that one or more rest period is not made available. In some occupations in the construction, drilling, logging and mining industries, breaks may be staggered or, in limited situations, delayed.
Colorado Employees covered by Colorado's Minimum Wage Order whose scheduled work shifts exceed five consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The employee must be completely relieved of all duties and permitted to pursue personal activities for the break period to qualify as an uncompensated period of time. If, however, circumstances exist that make an uninterrupted meal period impractical, the employer must permit the employee to consume an "on-duty" meal while performing duties, without any loss of time or compensation. N/A
Employees covered by Colorado's Minimum Wage Order are entitled to a paid rest break for every four hours they work. At least 10 minutes. Employees must be paid for the rest break. If practicable, the rest periods must be in the middle of each four-hour work period.
Connecticut Employees who work at least seven and a half consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 consecutive minutes. The meal break must be given after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours of work. The meal break requirements do not apply if: requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety; the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee; the employer employs less than five employees on a shift at a single place of business, provided the exemption applies only to the employees on such shift; or the continuous nature of an employer's operations requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for break and meal periods. The requirements also do not apply to professional employees certified by the State Board of Education and employed by a local or regional board of education of any town or regional school district to work directly with children. Employers and employees may enter into a written agreement providing for a different schedule of meal periods.
District of Columbia Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under District of Columbia law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Delaware Employees who work at least seven and a half consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 consecutive minutes. The meal break must be given after the first two hours of work and before the last two hours of work. The meal break requirements do not apply if: requiring compliance would be adverse to public safety; the duties of a position may only be performed by one employee; the employer employs less than five employees on a shift at a single place of business, provided the exemption applies only to the employees on such shift; or the continuous nature of an employer's operations requires that employees be available to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times and such employees are compensated for break and meal periods. The requirements also do not apply to professional employees certified by the State Board of Education and employed by a local or regional board of education of any town or regional school district to work directly with children.
Minors under 18 who are scheduled to work five consecutive hours are entitled to a rest break. At least 30 consecutive minutes. N/A N/A
Florida Employees under the age of 18 are entitled to an uninterrupted meal period for every four hours of continuous work. At least 30 minutes. N/A The break period requirement does not apply to: minors ages 16 and 17 who have graduated from high school or received a high school equivalency diploma; minors within the compulsory school attendance age limit who hold a valid certificate of exemption issued by the school superintendent; minors enrolled in public schools who qualify for exemption on a hardship basis such as economic necessity or family emergency; children in domestic service in private homes; children employed by their parents; and pages in the Florida Legislature.
Georgia Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Georgia law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Hawaii Employees ages 14 and 15 who work more than five hours continuously are entitled to a meal or rest break. At least 30 consecutive minutes. N/A N/A
Idaho Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Idaho law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Illinois Employees who are to work for seven and one-half continuous hours or longer are entitled to a meal break. At least 20 minutes. The meal break must begin no later than five hours after the start of the work period. This requirement does not apply to employees who monitor individuals with certain disabilities and who are required to be on call during an entire eight-hour work period.
Minors under 16 who work more than five continuous hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. No period of less than 30 minutes shall be deemed to interrupt a continuous period of work. N/A
Indiana Minors under 18 who are scheduled to work at least six consecutive hours are entitled to one or two rest breaks. The breaks must total 30 minutes. N/A Farm laborers; domestic service employees; golf caddies; newspaper carriers; employees who have graduated high school; employees who have completed a career and technical education program or special education program; and employees who have withdrawn from school are exempt.
Iowa Minors under 16 who work five or more hours in one day are entitled to a rest break. At least 30 minutes. N/A N/A
Kansas Employers are not required to offer meal or rest breaks. However, Kansas requires that employees be paid for a meal or rest break, unless the break lasts at least 30 minutes and the employees have previously been advised that it is a nonpaid period and no services are required to be performed. At least 30 minutes if unpaid. N/A N/A
Kentucky Employees who work at least four hours are entitled to a paid rest break. At least 10 minutes for every four hours worked. N/A The meal break requirements do not apply if there is a collective bargaining agreement or an employer-employee agreement providing for a different meal break schedule. Employers subject to the federal Railway Labor Act are exempt from both the meal and rest break requirements.
Employees are entitled to a meal break near the middle of their shift. A "reasonable" break. Employees may not be required to take their meal break before three hours or after five hours into their shift.
Minors who work at least five hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. N/A
Louisiana Minors under 18 who are scheduled to work five consecutive hours are entitled to an unpaid meal period. At least 30 minutes, but a break of 20 minutes will not be considered a violation of the law. Breaks must be documented by the employer. If the minor employee fails to clock in or out and a record edit is necessary, the edit must be documented and signed by the minor and manager. N/A
Maine Employees who work for more than six consecutive hours are entitled to a rest break. At least 30 minutes. N/A This requirement does not apply to employers with fewer than three employees on duty at any one time under circumstances where the employees have opportunities for frequent breaks during the work day; cases of emergency in which there is danger to property, life, public safety or public health; and employers that have a collective bargaining agreement or other written employer-employee agreement providing otherwise.
Maryland Certain retail employees are entitled to rest breaks. 15 minutes for a shift of four to six consecutive hours; 30 minutes for a shift of more than six consecutive hours; and 30 minutes for eight or more consecutive hours with an additional 15 minutes for every additional four consecutive hours. N/A For employees working less than six consecutive hours, the 15-minute break requirement may be waived by written agreement between the employer and employee.
Non-retail employees are not entitled to meal breaks, but any meal breaks count as hours worked if the employee is required to perform any duties during the break. N/A N/A N/A
Massachusetts Employees who work more than six hours a day are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal break may be paid or unpaid, but employees must be paid if they voluntarily agree to waive a meal break by working through the meal break or remaining on premises at the employer's request. Employees should clock in and out for meal periods, or note the start and end time for meal periods in their time sheet. The meal break requirements do not apply to certain factory workers and employees granted an exemption by the Attorney General.
Michigan Minors who have worked more than five hours are entitled to a meal or rest break. At least 30 minutes. N/A Minors ages 16 or older who have completed high school graduation, minors ages 17 or older who have passed the general educational development test and minors who are emancipated are exempt.
Minnesota Employees who work at least four consecutive hours are entitled to rest breaks. The rest break must provide adequate time within each four consecutive hours of work to utilize the nearest convenient restroom. N/A Employers and employees may establish different meal and rest periods under a collective bargaining agreement.
Employees who work eight or more hours are entitled to an unpaid meal At least 30 minutes, but a shorter period may be adequate under special conditions. It is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises, if the employee is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period. If the meal period is frequently interrupted by calls to duty, the employee is not relieved of all duties and the meal periods must be considered as hours worked.
Mississippi Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Mississippi law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Missouri Coal miners are entitled to a meal break. At least one hour. N/A N/A
Minors working in the entertainment industry are entitled to both rest breaks and meal breaks. 15 minutes for every two hours of continuous work for the rest breaks; 30 minutes to 60 minutes after five and one-half hours of continuous work for the meal breaks.
Montana Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Montana law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Nebraska Employees of an assembling plant, workshop or mechanical establishment are entitled to a meal break during each eight-hour shift. At least 30 minutes. Employees must be relieved of all work duties during that time and employers may not require employees to remain in buildings or on the premises where their labor is performed during the meal period. N/A
Nevada Employees working at least eight continuous hours are entitled to an unpaid meal break. At least 30 minutes. N/A An employee may voluntarily agree to waive any rest period or meal period. As the employer must prove such agreement in case of a dispute, written waivers should be obtained. Employers may apply to the Nevada Labor Commission for an exemption. No rest period applies where only one person is employed at the workplace.
Employees who work longer than three and one-half hours are entitled to paid rest breaks. At least 10 minutes for every three and one half hours worked. Rest periods must be in the middle of each work period, as practical.
New Hampshire Employees who work more than five consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. N/A Employers do not need to provide a meal break if it is feasible for the employee to eat while working and the employer permits the employee to do so.
New Jersey Minors under 18 who are scheduled to work five consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. N/A N/A
New Mexico Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks, but employers may not make deductions from wages if less than 30 minutes is allowed for these breaks. At least 30 minutes. N/A N/A
New York Factory workers are entitled to two meal breaks for all shifts of more than six hours starting between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and lasting more than six hours. At least 60 minutes each. The first lunch break must be between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; the second meal break must be at the time midway between the beginning and end of the shift. An employer can apply to the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor for shorter meal periods. These applications will be granted only if the Commissioner investigates the situation and finds such modifications are warranted by special circumstances.
Non-factory workers are entitled to a lunch break for shifts six hours or longer that extend over that period. At least 30 minutes. Between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Non-factory workers also are entitled to a meal break for all shifts of more than six hours starting between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. At least 45 minutes. The meal break must be provided at the midpoint of the employees' shifts.
All workers are entitled to an additional meal break for workdays that extend from before 11:00 a.m. to after 7:00 p.m. At least 20 minutes. The meal break must be provided between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
North Carolina Minors under 16 who work for five or more consecutive hours are entitled to a rest break. At least 30 minutes. N/A Under certain conditions, this requirement may be waived for youths 13 and older.
North Dakota Employees who work shifts exceeding five hours when there are two or more employees on duty are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal period must be paid unless the employee is completely relieved of work for the full 30 minutes. Employees may waive this right upon agreement with the employer.
Ohio Minors who work more than five consecutive hours are entitled to an unpaid break. At least 30 minutes. N/A N/A
Oklahoma Minors under 16 who work for more than five consecutive hours are entitled to a rest break. 30 cumulative minutes for employees who work between five and eight consecutive hours; 60 cumulative minutes for employees who work more than eight consecutive hours. N/A N/A
Oregon Employees who work more than six hours are entitled to one meal break; employees who work more than 14 hours during a single work period, are entitled to a second meal break; and employees who work between 22 and 24 hours during a single work period are entitled to a third meal break. At least 30 minutes for each meal break. The meal period need not be paid, unless the employee is not relieved of all duties, in which case the employee must be compensated for the entire meal period. When an employee's work period is seven hours or less, the required meal period must be taken between the second and fifth hour worked. When an employee's work period exceeds seven hours, the required meal period must be taken between the third and sixth hour worked. Minors must take their required meal period within five hours of reporting to work. Minors over the age of 16 may be permitted to continue working or remain on call while eating provided they are compensated for the time as "hours worked," and the nature of the job prevents the minor employee from being relieved of all duties during the meal period. The requirements regarding meal periods may be modified by a collective bargaining agreement. An employer need not provide the required meal periods when: doing so would impose an undue hardship; industry custom or standards provide for a shorter meal period (although it may not be less than 20 minutes); the failure to provide the (incidental) meal period was due to mechanical failure or other exceptional circumstances that rarely occur; or the employee waives the right to a meal period. Employees may waive their right to a meal period only under certain limited circumstances.
Employees who work at least two hours and one minute are entitled to one paid rest break and an additional rest break for every four hours worked thereafter. At least 10 minutes for each rest break for adults; at least 15 minutes for each rest break for minors under the age of 18. The rest breaks should be taken as close to the middle of each work segment as the nature of the job allows. The required rest breaks may not be added to or deducted from an employee's work shift to reduce the employee's overall work period. The rules regarding paid rest periods may be modified by a collective bargaining agreement. Employees over the age of 18 who works in a retail or service establishment; work less than five hours in any continuous 16-hour period; work alone; or are allowed to leave their work station to use the restroom facilities when needed are exempt.
Pennsylvania Minors who have worked for five continuous hours are entitled to a rest break. At least 30 minutes. No period of less than 30 minutes shall be deemed to interrupt a continuous period of work. N/A
Rhode Island Employees who work at least six hours are entitled to a meal break. 20 minutes for employees who work six hours; 30 minutes for employees who work eight hours. N/A Health care facilities, employers with less than three employees on any shift, and employers that have fewer than five employees and do not employ minors under the age of 16 are exempt from the meal break requirement. Also, employers are not required to provide meal breaks to minors exempted from the state child labor requirements.
South Carolina Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under South Carolina law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
South Dakota Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under South Dakota law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Tennessee Employees scheduled to work six consecutive hours are entitled to an unpaid meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal break may not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work. Workplaces that by their nature of business provide for ample opportunity to rest or take a break are exempt from the meal break requirements. Wait staff, bartenders and other tipped employees principally employed in the service of food or beverages may voluntarily waive their right to a meal break under certain limited circumstances.
Texas Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Texas law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A
Utah Minors are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal break must be provided no later than five hours after the beginning of the workday. If the employee cannot be completely relieved of all duties and permitted to leave the work station or area during the meal period, the meal period must be paid as time worked. Exemptions may be granted by the state for minors in "unusual situations."
Minors who work at least three hours are entitled to a paid rest break, and minors who work at least eight hours are entitled to two paid rest breaks. At least 10 minutes for each rest break. N/A N/A
State employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break. At least 30 minutes (unless otherwise authorized by management).
State employees are entitled to a paid rest break for every four hours worked. At least 15 minutes for each rest break.
Vermont Employees are entitled to breaks to eat and use toilet facilities to protect their health and hygiene. A "reasonable opportunity," but Vermont law is silent on what this term means. N/A N/A
Virginia Minors who work at least five consecutive hours are entitled to a meal or rest break. At least 30 minutes. No period of less than 30 minutes shall be deemed to interrupt a continuous period of work. N/A
Washington Minors ages 14 and 15 who work more than four hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal break must be separate and distinct from, and in addition to, the rest breaks. The breaks must not be scheduled near the beginning of the work shift. N/A
Minors ages 14 and 15 are entitled to a rest break for every two hours worked. At least 10 minutes.
Minors ages 16 and 17 who work more than five consecutive hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal periods must start no less than two hours but no more than five hours from the beginning of the work shift.
Minors ages 16 and 17 are entitled to a rest break for every four hours worked. At least 10 minutes. The rest periods must be scheduled as near as possible to the midpoint of the work period. They must receive a rest period at least every three hours.
Employees are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. Employees may not work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period. The meal period should occur between the second and fifth hours of work. Meal periods are not counted as hours worked if employees are completely relieved of duties and are not interrupted for a full 30 minutes. If meal periods are interrupted, employers must either allow the employees to take a new unpaid 30-minute meal period or pay the employees for the complete meal period. Employees may choose to waive the meal period. Employers may not require such a waiver. Although not required, employers should obtain signed waiver agreements from employees who want to skip their meal periods. Employees have the right to revoke such waivers at any time. In contrast, Washington rest break requirements may not be waived by employees.
Employees working three or more hours longer than a normal work day are entitled to an additional meal break prior to or during the overtime period. At least 30 minutes.
Employees who work at least four hours are entitled to a paid rest break. At least 10 minutes for every four hours worked. Employees may not work for more than three continuous hours without a break. Breaks should be scheduled as near as possible to the mid-point of each four-hour period. Rest breaks are not required if the nature of the work allows employees to take intermittent breaks totaling 10 minutes.
West Virginia Employees who are not "afforded necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat lunch while working" and who work six or more hours in a workday are entitled to an unpaid meal break. At least 20 minutes. N/A N/A
Minors who work for more than five continuous hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes.
Employees are not entitled to rest breaks, but rest breaks of 20 minutes or less must be counted as hours worked. Five to 20 minutes.
Wisconsin Minors who work for more than six hours are entitled to a meal break. At least 30 minutes. The meal break must start reasonably close to 6 a.m., 12 noon, 6 p.m. or 12 midnight, or approximately midway of any work period. N/A
Nonexempt employees working in factories or mercantile establishments are entitled to a rest break every seven consecutive days. At least 24 consecutive hours. The law does not provide that the rest must be given every seven days. For example, an employer may legally schedule work for 12 consecutive days within a two-week period, if the days of rest fall on the first and last days of the two-week period. There are exceptions in the case of a breakdown of machinery or equipment, or certain other emergencies.
Adult employees are not entitled to meal breaks, but the Wisconsin Administrative Code recommends that employers provide such breaks. At least 30 minutes. The breaks should be reasonably close to standard meal times. Bona fide meal periods are not considered as "hours worked." To be bona fide, a meal period must be for 30 minutes or more, while the employee is completely relieved from duty. Wisconsin law also requires that employees be free to leave the workplace during meal breaks; if the employer does not comply, the period is treated as work time. N/A
Wyoming Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks under Wyoming law. N/A In the absence of state requirements, federal rules dictate whether rest breaks and meal breaks count as hours worked, for which employees must be paid. N/A