Let’s just say you work at a coffee shop and you have a day shift that starts at 9 am to 5 pm. That is because the store has a morning rush that needs to be attended to. However, your manager has scheduled your break to be at 9:30, only half an hour after you arrive in the morning. Then you’re forced to work for the rest of the day without a break. Is this okay?

Of course, breaks are important for employees. This might come as a surprise, but according to federal law, employers are not required to give you any breaks at all. As long as you are paid for all of the time you spend working, your employer is meeting its obligations under federal law. However, it’s not that easy. There’s also state laws that we need to be mindful of.

Half of the states do require some form of breaks. Some states leave the timing of breaks entirely up to the employer. Your employer’s practice of scheduling your break just half an hour after your work start time would be entirely legal in those states. Other states impose requirements on when the breaks must be scheduled.

It’s important to talk to an employment lawyer to find out whether your specific state requires employers to provide you a break.

David Payab, Esq. from The Law Offices of Payab & Associates can be reached @ (818) 918-5522 or by visiting


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