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Lunch Break Laws By State

Lunch Breaks Aren’t Always a Requirement for Employers

Most employers provide their employees with a paid or unpaid lunch break and some provide additional rest break periods. But did you know that breaks aren’t required by law? Federal law, anyway. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the law that governs wages and hours, does not mandate that employers provide meal or rest breaks to employees. Like many other federal laws in the human resources space, some states have stepped in to bridge the gap.

Here’s What You Need to Know

The federal law dictates that if an employee gets meal or rest breaks, the company does not have to pay them for that time unless:

  • State law requires paid breaks
  • The employee works through a break time (e.g., if they eat while working)
  • The break lasts 20 minutes or less

Does Your State Require Lunch Breaks?

To help employers, we’ve created a chart and table explaining lunch break laws in every state. Watch out: some states’ laws apply only to employees who are minors. Check states’ laws for additional provisions and exemptions. All hours worked must be consecutive.

lunch break laws united states map
State  Covered Employees  Duration 
Alabama  14- and 15-year-old employees who work more than 5 hours  At least 30 minutes 
Alaska  Under 18 scheduled to work for 5 consecutive hours without a break  At least 30 minutess 
Arizona  N/A  N/A 
Arkansas  Minors in the entertainment industry who work for at least 5 ½ hours

 

They also must have at least a 12-hour break between work day

30 to 60 minutes 
California  All employees who work more than 5 hours a day

 

*Does not apply if the workday is only 6 hours or if waived by mutual consent. A second meal period is required after 10 hours but may be waived if work day isn’t longer than 12 hours and first meal period isn’t waived. (For more details, read our guide to California Compliance)


Employees who work for 3 ½ hours or more get one paid rest break for every 4-hour period worked 

At least 30 minutes

 


At least 10 minutes

Colorado  Employees covered by Colorado’s Minimum Wage Order who work 5+ hours

 

Paid rest break for every 4 hours worked

At least 30 minutes

 

At least 10 minutes

Connecticut  Employees who work at least 7½ hours  At least 30 minutes 
District of Columbia  N/A  N/A 
Delaware  Employees who work at least 7 ½ hours

 


Employees under 18 scheduled to work 5 hours  

At least 30 minutes

 


At least 30 minutes 

Florida  Employees under 18 who work at least 4 hours   At least 30 minutes 
Georgia  N/A  N/A
Hawaii  14- and 15-year-old employees who work 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes 
Idaho  N/A  N/A 
Illinois  Employees who work 7 ½ hours or longer

 


Employees under 16 who work 5+ hours

At least 20 minutes

 


At least 30 minutes 

Indiana  Employees under 18 who work 6+ hours  1-2 breaks totaling 30 minutes 
Iowa  Employees under 16 who work 5+ hours   At least 30 minutes 
Kansas  If the meal break is under 30 minutes, the employer must pay the employee  At least 30 minutes if unpaid 
Kentucky  Employees who work 4+ hours

 


Employees who work 5+ hours  

Rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked

 


Meal break of at least 30 minutes

Louisiana  Employees under 18 who work 5 hours  At least 30 minutes unpaid 
Maine  Employees who work 6+ hours   At least 30 minutes 
Maryland  Certain retail employees

 

Employees under 18 who work 5 consecutive hours 

15 minutes for a shift of 4-6 hours

 

30 minutes for a shift of more 6+ hours

30 minutes for 8+ with an additional 15 minutes for every additional 4 working hours

At least 30 minutes

Massachusetts  Employees who work 6+ hours   At least 30 minutes
Michigan  Employees under 18 who work 5+ hours   At least 30 minutes
Minnesota  Employees who work 4+ hours

 


Employees who work 8+ hours 

Must be enough time to use the nearest restroom

 


Enough time to eat a meal 

Mississippi  N/A  N/A 
Missouri  Coal miners

 


Employees under 16

Employees in the entertainment industry 

At least 1 hour

 


30-60 minute lunch periods after 5 1/2 hours of work

15-minute rest breaks for every 2 hours of work 

Montana  N/A  N/A 
Nebraska  Employees of an assembling plant, workshop or mechanical establishment   At least 30 minutes per 8-hour shift 
Nevada  Employees working 8+ hours

 


Employees who work 3 ½+ hours 

At least 30 minutes

 


At least a 10-minute rest break 

New Hampshire  Employees who work 5+ hours   At least 30 minutes 
New Jersey  Employees under 18 who work 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes
New Mexico  Employees are not entitled to meal or rest breaks. If employers permit, rest breaks under 20 minutes must be paid. Meal breaks of 30+ minutes can be unpaid.   >20 minutes – rest breaks

 

30+ minutes – meal breaks

New York  Every person employed or in connection with a factory shall be allowed at least 60 minutes for the noonday meal.

 


Every person employed or in connection with a mercantile or other establishment or occupation under the provisions of this chapter shall be allowed at least 30 minutes for the noonday meal.


An employee who works a shift of more than 6 hours which extended over that period shall be entitled to at least 30 minutes off during that time; every person employed for a period or shift starting before 11am and continuing later than 7pm shall be entitled to an additional meal period of at least 20 minutes between 5pm and 7pm. Every person employed more than 6 hours starting between the hours of 1pm and 6am shall be allowed at least 60 minutes for a meal period when employed in or in connection with a factory; 45 minutes for a mercantile establishment.

At least 60 minutes

 


At least 30 minutes

North Carolina  Employees under 16 who work shifts of 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes 
North Dakota  Employees who work 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes 
Ohio  Employees under 18 for every 5 hours worked  At least 30 minutes 
Oklahoma  Employees under 16 who work 5+ hours

 


Employees under 16 who work 8+ hours

At least 30 minutes

 


At least 30 minutes 

Oregon  Employees for every 4 hours or greater part of 4 hours (beginning at 2 hours 1 minute) worked

 

Employees who have worked for 6+ hours

At least 10 minutes for each rest break for adults

 

At least 15 minutes for each rest break for employees under 18

At least 30 minutes

Pennsylvania  Seasonal farm workers for every 5 hours worked

 

Minors under 18 for every 5 hours worked

At least 30 minutes
Rhode Island  Employees who work 6+ hours  20 minutes for employees who work 6 hours

 

30 minutes for employees who work 8 hours

South Carolina  N/A  N/A 
South Dakota  N/A  N/A 
Tennessee  Employees who work 6+ hours   At least 30 minutes 
Texas  N/A  N/A 
Utah  Employees under 18 for every 5 hours worked

 

Employees under 18 for every 3 hours or part thereof worked

At least 30 minutes

 

At least 10 minutes for each rest break. 

Vermont  Employers must provide a “reasonable opportunity” to eat and use the restroom. This opportunity must be paid if it is less than 30 minutes  N/A
Virginia  Employees under 16 who work 5+ hours At least 30 minutes
Washington  Employees ages 14 and 15 for every 2 hours worked.

 


Employees ages 14 and 15 for every 4 hours worked


Employees ages 16 and 17 who work 5+ hours


Employees ages 16 and 17 get a rest break for every 4 hours worked


Employees are entitled to a meal break


Employees working 3+ longer than a normal work day get an additional meal break


Employees who work 4+ hours get a paid rest break.

At least 10 minutes

 


At least 2 hours


At least 30 minutes


At least 10 minutes


At least 30 minutes


At least 30 minutes


At least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked

West Virginia  Employees who work 6+ hours get a meal break At least 20 minutes
Wisconsin  Adult employees are not entitled to meal breaks, but the Wisconsin Administrative Code recommends that employers provide such breaks.

 

Employees under 18 for every 6 hours worked 

At least 30 minutes. 
Wyoming  N/A  N/A 

Paycor is not a legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor. All communication from Paycor should be confirmed by your company’s legal, tax, benefit, accounting or investment advisor before making any decisions.


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