Federal wage and hour law does not mandate that employees be given either paid or unpaid rest or meal periods. Whether breaks are required is left up to the states. Connecticut has laws concerning meal periods and extended shifts.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division regulations do specify when work breaks that are provided, including meal periods, rest periods, and sleeping time, must be counted as work time subject to federal minimum wage and overtime requirements (29 CFR 785.18 through Sec. 785.23). There are details on these requirements.
There is no state law requiring rest breaks; however, CT Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51ii requires that employees who work for 71/2 or more consecutive hours be given a meal period of at least 30 minutes between the first two and last two hours of the shift. The meal period does not have to be paid.
If employees were to work a 15-hour shift, they would have to receive a second, 30-minute break during the second 71/2-hour period.
CT Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-51ii exempts from the lunch requirement employees who during the course of any 71/2-hour period receive 30 or more total minutes of paid rest or meal periods. So if your employees have two 15-minute paid breaks, they need not be given the 30-minute lunch break. Or if they have two 10-minute paid rest periods, you could give them a third, paid 10-minute break and fulfill the requirements of the law.
The act does not alter collective bargaining agreements that are in effect as of July 1, 1990, and it does not apply to public school teachers.
The labor commissioner is to prepare regulations that will exempt employers from ...