Attorneys James T. Carey and P. Zachary Stewart

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Does my employer have to pay me on my break time?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | Overtime And Wage Issues

Most employers will provide you breaks while you work. Breaks are a great way to step away from things and recharge before heading back to work. However, you may wonder if your employer has to pay you for your breaks.

The Division of Labor explains the law requires employers to offer at least a 20-minute break for employees working at least six hours in a day. The law may also require your employer to pay you for that break time, but it depends on the situation.


While your employer must give you at least 20 minutes of break time, many will give you a longer period. The law says your employer does not have to pay you for any break over 30 minutes. It is up to the employer. For breaks of 20 minutes or less, the law says your employer must pay you.

Keep in mind, your break depends on the time set by your employer. If your employer gives you a 30-minute lunch break, but you only take 20 of those minutes, the law allows your employer to not pay for that time because it is a 30-minute break.


Whether your time is a break depends on your duties during that period. If you are completely off of all work duties, then it is legitimate break time. However, if you are eating at your desk while you continue to work, for example, that is not a break. Your break time should include no work duties to be a legitimate break.

You should always refer to your employee manual to see the policy about breaks. This will help you to know if your employer will pay you or not.