What are your legal work breaks?


Though you expect to work 8 hours a day minimum when employed full time, there is a lot of wiggle room when it comes to establishing breaks. Arizona state laws do not actually have anything requiring employers to provide breaks or meals.

Despite that, the employment law handbook has quite a few things to say about breaks and how they fit into a typical work schedule.

Short breaks

The Employment Law Handbook discusses the ins and outs of taking breaks while working in Arizona. While the state itself does not have any specific laws about breaks, that does not mean employers can do whatever they want. Rather, that only means that the law defaults to federal-level laws instead.

Federal law dictates that employers must pay for breaks, including them in the paid working day rather than adding them on to the clock. These short breaks will last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes on average and do not include breaks for meals.

Meal breaks

Meal period breaks have a different set of rules. A meal period must last at least 30 minutes according to federal law. With this, however, the employer is not required to pay the employee for this period of time unless the employee is still doing work-related tasks while taking their lunch.

Breaks of 20 minutes or less count toward overtime requirements. Meal breaks do not, as they are not paid. Note that employers must understand limitations of breaks as set by employers. They can also subject employees to penalties if they misuse breaks, such as taking longer breaks than allowed.