Lunch Breaks

Is there a federal law that states when employees must be allowed to take lunch breaks?


  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • We have had that question often. FLSA does not require that an employee have any breaks. They can, legally by FLSA, be worked 24 hours without a break if you want. Of course, that would be counter-productive, but legal. But I would check any other state guidelines, company policies, union agreements, etc.

  • So according to the FLSA employees don't have to take lunch breaks. But does that vary from state to state?If so, does anyone know what tennessee law states?

  • Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 50-2-103(b) provides the following: "Each
    employee must have a thirty (30) minute unpaid rest break or meal period if
    scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively; except in workplace environments
    that by their nature of business provide for ample opportunity to rest or take
    an appropriate break. Such break shall not be scheduled during or before the
    first hour of scheduled work activity." A similar provision is found in
    Tennessee's child labor law---without the exception. In other words, a minor is
    entitled to a 30-minute break if he or she works six consecutive hours---period.

    The Tennessee Department of Labor (which has responsibility for the enforcement
    of this law) has taken the position (at least informally) that as long as an
    employee has a chance to take a break or sit down and rest every so often, then
    an employer will fit within the exception noted in the above statute. As an
    example of this, the Department has said that a server in a restaurant would
    ordinarily be the kind of employee who works in an environment that by its
    nature provides "for ample opportunity to reast or take an appropriate break."
    It would appear, therefore, that unless you have employees working at a job
    which requires them to stay at it for six solid hours, you probably do not have
    to worry about the rest break or meal period talked about in the above statute.
    Let me know if you have other questions.

  • I had always gone by the Federal statutes on this issue. Does anyone happen to know what the Missouri statute is on this issue?

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