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Washington Rest Periods: What you need to know

Federal wage and hour law does not require that employees be provided either paid or unpaid rest or meal periods. Whether breaks are required is left up to the states. Washington law does have provisions covering both meal breaks and rest breaks.
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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.
Employees who work a shift of more than 5 consecutive hours must be allowed a meal break of at least 30 minutes, beginning no earlier than 2 hours and no later than 5 hours after the start of the shift. Employees must be paid for the meal break if the job requires them to stay on the employer's premises during the break. An additional half-hour meal break must be allowed whenever an employee works 3 or more hours beyond the normal shift. This break may be either before or during the overtime period.
Employees who work more than a 4-hour shift must be given a rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked. The breaks should be scheduled to occur around the middle of each 4-hour work period; no employee may be required to work more than 3 hours without a 10-minute break.
Pieceworkers. Employers must pay pieceworkers for rest breaks separate and apart from the piece rate. The rest breaks for pieceworkers must be paid at least at the applicable minimum wage or the employee's regular rate, whichever is greater. To calculate a pieceworker's regular rate, employers should tally the total piece-rate earnings and divide those ...

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We’ve compiled a list of the 100 most commonly asked questions we have received on the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) overtime regulations.
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This report, "Top 100 FLSA Q&As", is designed to provide you with an examination of the federal FLSA overtime regulations in Q&A format, including valuable tips for bringing your workplace into compliance in an affordable manner.

At the end of the report, you will find a list of state resources on wage and hour issues. This report includes practical advice on topics such as:
  • FLSA Coverage: How FLSA regulations apply to all employers and any specific exemptions from the overtime requirements
  • Salary Level: Qualifying for exemptions and nonexempt employees
  • Deductions from Pay: Deducting for violations, disciplinary reasons, sick leave, or personal leave

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