The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require that employers provide any rest or meal breaks to employees other than for nursing mothers. However, if an employer decides to offer these breaks to their employees, the FLSA does provide some rules that must be followed:
- Breaks of a short duration (typically 20 minutes or less) should be paid breaks that are counted as time worked and should be included in the total hours calculation for overtime purposes. This includes restroom breaks, breaks to get a beverage, smoke breaks, etc.
- Meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) can be omitted from total hours worked and can be unpaid breaks when an employee is relieved of all job responsibilities for the duration of the break.