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November 4, 2008    DOL Home > ESA > WHD > State Labor Laws > Rest Periods   

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Wage and Hour Division - To promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation's workforce.

Minimum Paid Rest Period Requirements Under State Law for Adult Employees in Private Sector - January 1, 2008

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Table of Minimum Paid Rest Period Requirements Under State Law for Adult Employees in Private Sector


Basic Standard

Prescribed By:

Coverage 2/



Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4 hours worked or major fraction thereof; as practicable, in middle of each work period. Not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than 3 and ½ hours.

Administratively issued Industrial Welfare Commission Orders.

Uniform application to industries under 15 Orders, including agriculture and household employment.
Excludes professional actors, sheepherders under Agricultural Occupations Order, and personal attendants under Household Occupations Order.

Additional interim rest periods required in motion picture industry during actual rehearsal or shooting for swimmers, dancers, skaters or other performers engaged in strenuous physical activity.
Under all Orders, except for private household employment, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement may grant exemption upon employer application on the basis of undue hardship, if exemption would not materially affect welfare or comfort of employees.


Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4-hour work period or major fraction thereof; as practicable, in middle of each work period.

Administratively issued Wage Order for 7 industries.

Applicable to retail trade, food and beverage, public housekeeping, medical profession, beauty service, laundry and dry cleaning and janitorial service industries. Excludes certain occupations, such as teacher, nurse, and other medical professionals.



Each hotel room attendant -- those persons who clean or put guest rooms in order in a hotel or other establishment licensed for transient occupancy -- shall receive a minimum of two 15-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute meal period in each workday in which they work at least seven hours.


Applies to an establishment located in a county with a population greater than three million.

Employees may not be required to work during a break period. Break area must be provided with adequate seating and tables in a clean and comfortable environment. Clean drinking water must be provided without charge. Employer must keep complete and accurate records of the break periods.


Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4-hour work period


Excludes employees under the Federal Railway Labor Act.

Rest period must be in addition to regularly scheduled meal period.


Paid adequate rest period within each 4 consecutive hours of work, to utilize nearest convenient restroom.


Excludes certain agricultural and seasonal employees.

Different rest breaks permitted if pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.


Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4 hours worked or major fraction thereof; as practicable, in middle of each work period. Not required for employees whose total daily work time is less than 3 and ½ hours.


Applicable to employers of two or more employees at a particular place of employment.

Excludes employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.

Labor Commissioner may grant exemption on employer evidence of business necessity.


Paid 10-minute rest period for every 4-hour segment or major portion thereof in one work period; as feasible, approximately in middle of each segment of work period.

Administratively issued Wage and Hour Commission rules.

Applicable to every employer, except in agriculture and except employees covered by collective bargaining agreement.

Rest period must be in addition to usual meal period and taken separately; not to be added to usual meal period or deducted from beginning or end of work period to reduce overall length of total work period.
In absence of regularly scheduled rest periods, it is sufficient compliance when employer can show that the employee has, in fact, received the time specified (permitted only where employer can show that ordinary nature of the work prevents employer from establishing and maintaining a regularly scheduled rest period).
Rest period is not required for employees age 18 or older who work alone in a retail or service establishment serving the general public and who work less than 5 hours in a period of 16 continuous hours.


Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4-hour work period, scheduled as near as possible to midpoint of each work period. Employee may not be required to work more than 3 hours without a rest period.

Administrative regulation

Excludes newspaper vendor or carrier, domestic or casual labor around private residence, sheltered workshop, and agricultural labor. 3/

Rules for construction trade employees may be superseded by a collective bargaining agreement covering such employees if the terms of the agreement specifically require rest periods and prescribe requirements concerning them.

Scheduled rest periods not required where nature of work allows employee to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to required standard.
Director of Labor and Industries may grant variance from basic standard for good cause, upon employer application.


1/ States not listed do not require paid rest periods. All of the eight States with paid rest period requirements, also have meal period requirements.

2/ Not displayed in table are exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees, and for outside salespersons.

3/ Washington State. Although agricultural labor is excluded from the listed requirement of general application, a separate regulation requires a paid 10-minute rest period in each 4-hour period of agricultural employment.

Office of Performance, Budget, and Departmental Liaison
Wage and Hour Division
Employment Standards Administration
U.S. Department of Labor

This document was last revised in December 2007; unless otherwise stated, the information reflects requirements that were in effect, or would take effect, as of January 1, 2008.


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