How Many Breaks Should I Get in an Eight-Hour Work Day?

Laws about breaks and meal periods vary by state. There is no federal requirement for an employer to provide a meal break during an eight-hour day, but federal law does specify that short breaks of less than 30 minutes are paid, while longer meal breaks are not.

Only eight states require that employers provide break periods to employees: California, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. For an eight-hour shift, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon and Washington require at least two 10-minute paid rest periods (one per four hours). Minnesota specifies only an “adequate” rest period once every four hours for the purpose of utilizing the nearest restroom. Vermont specifies that employees be given “reasonable opportunities” to eat and use the bathroom.