Lunch Break Laws By State
Lunch Break Laws By State

Lunch Break Laws By State

Lunch Breaks Aren’t 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?

Some states’ laws apply only to employees who are minors, which we indicate in the table below. 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  Employees under 18 scheduled to work for 6 or more hours
Under 18 scheduled to work for 5 consecutive hours without a break 
At least 30 minutes
At least 30 minutes 
Arizona  N/A  N/A 
Arkansas  Employees 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
Employees who work for 3 ½ hours or more get one paid rest break for every 4-hour period worked 
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  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  
Massachusetts  Employees who work 6+ hours   At least 30 minutes  
Michigan  Employees 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
At least 30 minutes unpaid 
Mississippi  N/A  N/A 
Missouri  Coal miners
Employees in the entertainment industry 
At least 1 hour
15-minute rest breaks for every 2 hours of work

30-60 minute lunch periods after 5 ½ 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  Factory workers get 2 meal breaks for shifts of 6+ hours that start between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
Non-factory workers get a lunch break for shifts 6+ hours that extend over the same time period.
All workers get an extra break for workdays that extend from before 11:00 a.m. until after 7:00 p.m.
Employees under 16 who work for 5+ hours  
At least 60 minutes
At least 30 minutes
At least 20 minutes
At least 30 minutes  
North Carolina  Employees who work shifts of 5+ hours when there are 2 or more employees on duty  At least 30 minutes 
North Dakota  Employees who work 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes 
Ohio  Employees under 18 who work for 5+ hours  30 cumulative minutes for employees who work 5-8 hours

60 cumulative minutes for employees who work 8+ hours. 
Oklahoma  N/A  N/A 
Oregon  Employees who work 2+ hours get 1 paid rest break and an extra rest break for every 4 additional hours worked

Employees who have worked for 5 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  Only farm workers who have worked 5+ hours  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 who work for 5+ hours  At least 30 minutes

At least 10 minutes for each rest break. 
Vermont  State employees who work 4+ hours  At least 30 minutes unpaid lunch and a 15 minute rest break for every 4 hours worked  
Virginia  Employees who work 5+ hours   At least 30 minutes  
Washington  Employees ages 14 and 15 for every 2 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.
Employees who are not “afforded necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat lunch while working” and who work 6+ hours are entitled to an unpaid meal break  
At least 10 minutes


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
At least 20 minutes

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


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