Meals and Breaks


  • 10 Minute Rest Breaks
  • 15 minutes if under 18 years of age;
  • For every major part of a 4 hour segment; midway if possible;
  • In addition to, and separate from, meal times.

30 Minute Meal Breaks

  • For shifts of 6 hours or longer;
  • Unpaid, no interruptions;
  • Between the 3rd & 6th hour if shift is longer than 7 hours; otherwise between the 2nd & 5th hour.

Note: Certain tipped food and beverage employees can voluntarily waive meal periods by completing the appropriate BOLI form.

Exception to 30 minute Uninterrupted Meal Break:

If you can show “undue hardship”, you must provide adequate time to consume a meal, rest, and use the restroom, and pay employees for this time. Effective March 16, 2009, employers must provide a notice to each affected employee on a BOLI form. Retain a copy of the notice for a minimum of six months after employment termination.
“Undue hardship” means: “significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to the size, financial resources, nature or structure of the business.”
Employers with 25 or more employees must also provide “reasonable rest periods” (no less than 30 minutes during each 4-hour work period or major part thereof) to accommodate an employee who needs to express milk.

  • You must pay the employee for the usual 10-minute rest period; the other 20 minutes may be unpaid.
  • You can allow the employee to work before/ after her normal shift to make up the time used during the unpaid portion of the rest periods.
  • You cannot require her to use paid leave time of she does not want to work before or after her shift to make up the unpaid time.
  • You must make a reasonable effort to provide a private location in close proximity to the employee’s work area.