The federal government doesn't require lunch breaks, although some states have laws regulating meal periods, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. The government doesn’t require employers to pay employees for lunch breaks lasting at least 30 minutes, as long as employers don’t assign work-related tasks during the break.
If employers require employees to eat at their desk or work station, the federal government requires employers to pay workers for the time. Employers can mandate that employees stay on company property during the break, as long as they have no official duties, notes the National Federation of Independent Business. Employees can do whatever they like while they are on a meal break, and employers can’t require them to eat.