Wisconsin 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.
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U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division regulations do specify when work breaks, including meal periods, rest periods, and sleeping time, that, if provided, must be counted as work time subject to federal minimum wage and overtime requirements (29 CFR 785.18 through 785.23).
Break time. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)recommends that each employer allow each employee who is 18 years of age or over, at least 30 minutes for each meal period reasonably close to the usual meal period time (6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 6:00 p.m., or 12:00 midnight) or near the middle of a shift. Shifts of more than 6 consecutive hours without a meal period should be avoided (WI Admin. Code Sec. DWD 274.02).
Minors. The Wisconsin DWD requires that each employer allow each employee under the age of 18 at least 30 minutes for each meal period reasonably close to the usual meal period time (6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 6:00 p.m., or 12:00 midnight) or near the middle of a shift (WI Admin. Code Sec. DWD 274.02 and Sec. DWD 271.03).
“On-duty meal periods.” An employer must pay all employees for on-duty meal periods, which are to be counted as work time. An on-duty meal period is a meal period where the employer does not provide at least 30 minutes free from work or where the employee is not free to leave the premises of the employer (WI Admin. Code Sec. DWD 274.02(3)).
Lunchrooms. The DWD can require a suitable space in which lunches may be eaten in any place of employment if the Department finds it is reasonably ...

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