Rest and Meal Periods

In general, meal periods of 30 minutes or more are not compensable time if employees are completely relieved from their work responsibilities for the purpose of eating a meal.  If an employee is expected to perform any job-related duties then the time would be considered compensable.

Rest periods as defined by the Department of Labor are usually 20 minutes or less and may promote the efficiency of the employee and are customarily paid for as working time.  These short periods must be counted as hours worked. Unauthorized extensions of authorized work breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has expressly and unambiguously communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer’s rules, and any extension of the break will be punished.   Bona fide meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) generally need not be compensated as work time. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purpose of eating regular meals.

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The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information above contains only a summary of the applicable legal provisions and does not purport to cover every aspect of any particular law, regulation or requirement. Depending on the specific facts of any situation, there may be additional or different requirements. This is to be used only as a guide and not as a definitive description of your compliance obligations.