Minnesota Break Laws

April 5th 2024

Minnesota has state and federal labor laws in place to protect employees’ well-being and ensure a clear distinction between work and break time. Break regulations guarantee employees have sufficient time to rest and recharge during their shifts.

This article aims to clarify Minnesota break laws, which are crucial for fostering a fair and productive workplace.

This article covers:

Rest Breaks in Minnesota

Under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 177.253, employers are obligated to give their employees sufficient time for rest breaks. According to the law, employees should take a break within every four consecutive hours of work to use the nearest restroom. Any break that lasts less than 20 minutes must be considered working hours and should be compensated accordingly.

Meal Breaks in Minnesota

According to Minnesota Statutes Chapter 177.254, employers should provide meal breaks for employees who work for 8 hours or more. Although employers can set the length of their meal breaks, they generally provide a 30-minute lunch break to their employees. Meanwhile, employers who are under a collective bargaining agreement are allowed to establish different meal periods.

Furthermore, Minnesota Administrative Rules 5200.0120 state that meal breaks that are considered bona fide are not counted as hours worked. These breaks do not include rest periods such as coffee or snack breaks. During a bona fide meal break, the employee should be completely relieved from duty. However, if an employee is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, while eating, the meal period must be considered as hours worked and should be compensated accordingly.

Break Exemption in Minnesota

Similar to overtime laws, there are professions exempt from break laws because of the nature of their job. These employees have the privilege to take a rest on multiple occasions during the day.

The following professions are exempt from having rest breaks:

  • Taxi drivers
  • Babysitters
  • Seafarers
  • Religious employees
  • Certain agricultural workers

Breastfeeding Breaks in Minnesota

According to Minnesota Statutes 181.393, nursing mothers and lactating employees are entitled to the following:

  • Reasonable break time to express milk without compensation deductions.
  • Break times may run concurrently with any break times provided to the employee.
  • A clean, private, and secure room to express milk that is not a bathroom or toilet stall is shielded from the public’s eyes, free from the intrusion of coworkers, and has access to an electrical outlet.

However, there are limited exceptions for employers that claim providing reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the minimum age of employment is 14, except for certain jobs such as:

  • Being a newspaper carrier (which requires a minimum age of 11)
  • Working in agriculture (which requires a minimum age of 12 with parental consent)
  • Being a youth athletic program referee (which requires a minimum age of 11 with parental or guardian consent)
  • Working in the entertainment industry

Regardless of the age or job nature of the minor employees in Minnesota, they are entitled to reasonable rest breaks and meal breaks. Generally, rest breaks should be 20 minutes or less and could be taken more frequently, while meal breaks should last for 30 minutes for every 8-hour shift.

Rest Day Requirements in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, the standard work week in Minnesota is 40 hours of work over 7 consecutive days. However, the employer may set other work periods permitted by the FLSA and should notify the employees. In this case, the employer may provide rest days for the employees.

If the employer requires the employee to work longer than 48 hours in a workweek, the employer must compensate the employee for overtime. Under Minnesota Statutes 177.25, the rate of overtime pay is at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular rate of pay.

Learn more about Minnesota Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

This content is provided for informational purposes only. While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, we cannot guarantee that it is free of errors or omissions. Users are advised to independently verify any critical information and should not solely rely on the content provided.