Do salaried employees have to take meal breaks?

Is a salaried, exempt employee required to take a 30 minute lunch so that they have a total of 8.5 hours for the day?

Posted  03-14-2012

Ann Kiernan replies:

Federal law does not require meal periods or breaks for adults, whether exempt or non-exempt. Approximately 20 states do require either meal periods, breaks, or both for workers in some or all industries. Your state, Georgia, is not one of them, but you can check the Department of Labor website for information about other states’ meal break requirements.


Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Ann Kiernan has litigated claims of wrongful discharge and discrimination before state and federal courts and administrative matters before the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, representing both employers and employees. Ms. Kiernan co-hosted The Employee Rights Forum, a weekly radio call-in show reaching up to a half-million listeners in the New York metropolitan area, and her articles on employment law have been published in many books and magazines. Both as a firm partner and as a director, Ms. Kiernan gained solid experience in management and human resources compliance. She has worked with Fair Measures since 1997.