Rhode Island Rest Periods: What you need to know

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. Rhode Island has laws on meal breaks and rest periods for breastfeeding.
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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). There is additional information on these requirements.
Employees are entitled to a 20-minute meal break when working a 6-hour work shift and a 30-minute meal break when working an 8-hour work shift. Employers are not required to compensate employees for these meal breaks. The meal break requirements do not apply to licensed healthcare facilities and employers who employ less than three people on any shift at the worksite (RI Stat. Sec. 28-3-14).
An employer is required to provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to breastfeed or express breast milk for her infant child to maintain milk supply and comfort. The requirement does not apply if it would create an undue hardship on the operations of the employer. The break time is to run concurrently, if possible, with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer must also make a reasonable effort to provide a private, secure, and sanitary room or other location near the work area, other than a toilet stall, for such breaks (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 23-13.2-1).
Last reviewed on May 11, 2016.

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