Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

10 Things You Need to Know Before You Demand Your Work Break

Almost everyone I talk to about this issue is absolutely sure they're entitled to two 15 minute work breaks and one lunch break a day. Almost everyone is wrong. Before you smart off to your boss who's demanding you return to work before you finish your coffee, here are 10 things you need to know about work breaks.

1. No work breaks required by federal law

No federal law requires any work breaks for meals or rest. Need a bathroom break? Not federally required. Can't hold it? Complain to your member of Congress.

2. Meal breaks
Only twenty states . . . read more on AOL Jobs.

Thanks again to Gina Misiroglu of Red Room for putting me in touch with the AOL people!


  1. ohhhh, this post brings a bunch of memories back. lol
    after reading this i'm surprised that i wasn't fired more often than i was. lol

    tis a good topic, Donna. i think this addresses one of the myths that employees have. at least it does mine.

    should be one of the questions a potential employee should ask in interview.

  2. I live in Washington state, and it shocks me that these sorts of breaks aren't part of the federal law.

    On a related note, when I looked up the laws I was shocked to see that there was no limit to the number of hours an employer could require you to work.

  3. Mike, you're not alone. It's amazing how many people get fired for insisting on breaks they aren't entitled to, or for refusing to work overtime (another topic I should cover eventually).


I appreciate your comments and general questions but this isn't the place to ask confidential legal questions. If you need an employee-side employment lawyer, try http://exchange.nela.org/findalawyer to locate one in your state.