1) Break periods of 5 to 20 minutes are compensable; for example, if your employer allows you to take a 10-minute snack break, he must pay you for those ten minutes. A break of 30 minutes or more, usually for lunch, are not compensable. If your employer allows to you take 30 minutes or more off from work during your hours, he does not have to pay you for the time.
2) Employers have to give employees access to bathroom facilities, meaning that there must be a restroom for workers to use. There is no requirement regarding how often or when an employee will be permitted to use the restroom.
While the federal government is hands-off regarding breaks for workers, some states have stepped up to help employees get reasonable breaks from work. The laws vary by state.
Vermont and Minnesota simply require employers to give employees enough time to use the restroom.
California, Colorado, Kentucky, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington require a short break, such as ten minutes, for every specified hours of work. For example, in California you should get a ten minute, paid rest break for every four hours of work.
Fewer than half of the 50 states require employers to offer a meal break of at least a half an hour for every specified number of hours worked. Meal breaks are not compensated. You can check your state's meal break laws at the United States Department of Labor website.
Tell Us What You Think
What are the break rules at your place of work? Tell us about it below or join the conversation on Twitter.
More from PayScale
Court Rules That Breastfeeding at Work Is a Protected Civil Right
5 Reasons Why You Are Not the Boss
'Working Class Foodies Cookbook' Review
(Photo Credit: prw_silvan/Flickr)