Federal wage and hour law does not require rest or meal periods, except for nursing mothers, but it does set standards for when work breaks, including meal periods, rest periods, and sleeping time, must be counted as paid work time. Whether breaks are required is left up to the states. Under Montana law, rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, must be counted as hours worked. Bona fide meal periods are not work time and need not be compensated.
Under Montana labor regulations, bona fide meal periods are not work time and need not be compensated. Bona fide meal periods do not include coffee breaks or time for snacks. These are rest periods. The employee must be completely relieved from duty for the purposes of eating regular meals. Ordinarily 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period. A shorter period may be long enough under special conditions. An employee is not relieved from duty if he or she is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating. For example, an office employee who is required to be at his or her machine is working while eating. It is not necessary that an employee be permitted to leave the premises if he or she is otherwise completely freed from duties during the meal period (MT Admin. Rules Sec. 24.16.1006).
Rest periods of short duration, running from 5 minutes to about 20 minutes, must be counted as hours worked. Compensable time of rest periods may not be offset against other working time such as compensable waiting time or on-call time (MT Admin. Rules Sec. 24.16.1006).
Where an employee is required to be on ...