Q:

How many breaks do workers get in an eight-hour day?

A:

Quick Answer

As of July 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor explains that 21 states have meal period requirements, and seven of those states have rest period laws in place. The other 29 states do not require employers to give breaks. Legal site Nolo has links, with explanations, for all 50 states and their laws pertaining to work breaks.

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Full Answer

The number of breaks workers get for an eight-hour workday depends on the state law where the worker is employed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal law considers short breaks, between five and 20 minutes, to be compensated work time when employers offer such benefits. Meal breaks of more than 20 minutes do not have to be paid by employers per federal law.

For instance, California's law states that workers must get a 30-minute meal break when working more than five hours unless the workday finishes at six hours. Workers in California get two meal breaks when they work 10 hours or more. The U.S. Department of Labor explains that Illinois law allows hotel room attendants to take two 15-minute rest periods and one 30-minute lunch period for shifts lasting seven hours or more. New York has even more provisions; factory workers get one-hour lunch periods, other workers get 30 minutes for lunch during shifts of more than six hours, and overnight workers get even more breaks.

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