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What is the common number of breaks for employees who work 10 hour shifts?

There is no federal law, outside of OSHA’s bathroom accessibility requirement, that requires employers to provide their employees with rest breaks or meal periods. Some states have adopted their own rest break and meal period requirements. So, it’s important to be aware of any state or municipality regulations.

Even if an employer is not required by law to provide breaks, not allowing an employee who works a 10 hour shift to take any breaks is unreasonable. Employees need to eat, drink, and rest in order to remain healthy, productive and safe.

A general standard for breaks is a short rest break (10-20 minutes) every 4 hours worked and a meal period (at least 30 minutes) every 6 or 7 hours worked. So, an employee with a 10 hour shift ideally should receive one short break and one meal period. Of course, this may vary based on industry standards and/or the time of day of the shift.

Furthermore, if an employer provides meal periods or rest breaks they must follow compensation requirements set forth under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under the FLSA, short breaks lasting less than twenty minutes in duration must be compensated.

Meal periods lasting thirty minutes or more serve a different purpose than short breaks and are not time required to be compensated. Employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during meal periods. If an employee does any work during his meal period the time must be compensated and counted towards the total number of hours worked in the workweek.


This entry was posted on Thursday, March 16th, 2017 at 2:14 pm and is filed under
Benefits, Compensation.
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