Employers frequently manipulate the law regarding breaks, to the detriment of their employees. For more information and to pursue a rest break claim, contact our Illinois rest break attorneys today.

Unlike some states, Illinois does not require employers to provide rest breaks to employees, with the exception of hotel room attendants. Illinois does require that employees who work a shift of 7 ½ hours or more be provided a meal break. This meal break must be continuous and uninterrupted, and cannot be parceled out into several “rest breaks” over the course of the shift.

Federal law also does not require employers to provide rest breaks, with one limited exception discussed below. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does provide protections for rest breaks. Many employers choose to offer their employees rest breaks, in order to improve worker productivity, compete with similar employers for qualified employees, and to create a more humane and pleasant work environment. When rest breaks are provided, FLSA mandates that those breaks must be considered part of the hours the employee works and must be paid.

Breaks are generally 20 minutes or less; breaks of longer duration may potentially be unpaid. This includes restroom breaks. Under OSHA regulations, employers must allow employees to take reasonable restroom breaks. As breaks of 20 minutes or less, these restroom breaks must be paid. The number and length of restroom breaks can vary, depending on a number of factors.

An amendment to FLSA enacted in 2010 does create a rest break requirement for mothers who wish to express breast milk. For up to one year following the child’s birth, an employer of 50 or more employees must allow the mother-employee to take reasonable unpaid breaks to express breast milk. In addition, the employer must provide a private place of accommodation other than a bathroom for this activity.

The Illinois rest break attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have substantial experience representing workers in unpaid rest break claims, as well as related meal break, overtime and other wage claims. While no laws in Illinois explicitly require rest breaks, the law does protect the rest breaks you are given. When rest breaks are not paid, often additional claims may be made regarding improper record-keeping and management of payroll. If you are working unpaid rest breaks, contact our office today at (312) 869-4095 for a confidential consultation.

Chicago Overtime Lawyer Blog - Breaks