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. Delaware law mandates meal periods for all employees and rest breaks for minors.
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 785.23).
Under Delaware law, employees are entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least 30 consecutive minutes when they work at least 71/2 consecutive hours. The break must be given after the first 2 hours and before the last 2 hours of work (DE Code Tit. 19 Sec. 707).
Exceptions. This rule does not apply where a collective bargaining agreement or other written employment agreement provides otherwise. Nor does it apply to professional employees certified by the State Board of Education and employed by a local school board to work directly with children.
The Secretary of Labor may grant exceptions where:
• Compliance would adversely affect public safety;
• Only one employee can perform the duties of a position;
• An employer has fewer than five employees on a shift at a single place of business (in which case, the exemption applies only to that shift); or
• The continuous nature of an employer's operations, such as chemical production or research experiments, requires employees to respond to urgent or unusual conditions at all times, and the employees are compensated for their meal break periods.
A minor under the age of ...