Work Breaks Generally Not Required But Employers Must Follow Strict Rules When Breaks Are Offered.
Except for the breaks required for minors and the newly required lactation breaks for mothers after the birth of a child, employers are not generally required to offer work breaks. But for employers that do give their employees a break, they must follow strict rules to avoid unpaid overtime lawsuits. For example, an employer must continue to pay employees if a “rest break” is 20 minutes or less, and also if a “meal break” is less than 30 minutes. Employers still need to pay for meal breaks where the employee is not completely relieved of duties for the entire break. Having employees acknowledge in writing the time taken for breaks is essential to avoid costly litigation over false claims.