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. Except for minors, New Jersey has no provisions requiring meal or rest breaks.
U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division regulations specify that work breaks, including meal periods, rest periods, and sleeping time, when provided, must be counted as work time subject to federal minimum wage and overtime requirements (29 CFR 785.18 through 785.23).
Employees must be free to leave their place of work. All the time an employee is required to be at his or her place of work or on duty must be counted as hours worked. If an employer requires an employee to remain at his or her place of work during a meal break, the employer must pay the employee for that break (NJ Admin. Code Sec. 12:56-5.2).