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How Many Breaks in a 5 Hour Shift?
7 Tips You Must Know

A non-exempt employee who works over 5 hours in a single shift is entitled to 1 meal period lasting at least 30 minutes. The employer must provide the meal break no later than the end of the 5th work hour.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is a Meal Break?

A meal break is defined as an unpaid, uninterrupted 30-minute period given to employees to eat, conduct personal business, or do anything they choose. Employees are not required to eat during a meal break.

Why are Work Breaks Important?

Taking a break from work increases focus when employees return to work, thus improving job productivity. Taking a break also relieves stress, which helps workers' mental health and well-being. These factors contribute to increased job satisfaction.

How Many Breaks Should I Get in an 8-Hour Work Shift?

In most states, non-exempt employees are entitled to 1 unpaid 30-minute meal break, and 2 paid 10-minute rest breaks throughout an 8-hour shift.

Can Employees Choose Not to Take a Break?

Yes, employees have the right to waive their lunch breaks, but only if they work for less than 6 hours.

Can I Work Through My Lunch Break?

Federal law mandates that during a lunch break, you should be fully relieved of any work duties. This is why lunch breaks can be unpaid. However, if you are performing work during a lunch break, and your supervisor knows that you are working through lunch, you should be paid for the time.

Related Article: Example of Working Off the Clock

Can a Manager Stop You From Taking a Break?

Employers have a certain amount of control over when employees take their breaks, but they can't control what they do during breaks. The law stipulates that the break should come as close to the middle of the day as possible, but it does not control exactly when this is.

What if an Employee Refuses to Take a Work Break?

So long as the employee is not skipping breaks or working through them due to the employer's failure to offer the break or due to the pace of business, employers are not required to "police" the break and make sure the employee takes the break.

Can You Get into Trouble for Being in the Bathroom Too Long at Work?

Most states are "at-will" states, which means that an employer can terminate an employee for literally any reason without warning. However, your employer cannot dictate your bladder for you, and if you were fired because your boss decided that you are taking too many bathroom breaks, you should contact a law firm to learn more about your legal rights.

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