North Carolina Break Laws

April 11th 2024

North Carolina does not have any laws that require employers to provide meal breaks or rest breaks to their employees. However, it is still essential for employees to take breaks during their work hours, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides certain provisions that employers must follow.

Navigating employment regulations can be complex, especially when it comes to complying with state-specific labor laws. Hence, this article aims to provide a detailed discussion of break laws in North Carolina.

This article covers:

Meal Breaks and Rest Breaks in North Carolina

Employers in North Carolina are not required to provide rest breaks or meal breaks for employees aged 16 and older. However, if the employer decides to provide breaks, they must adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Short breaks for restroom or coffee breaks are generally 10 to 15 minutes long. The federal law considers rest breaks as worked hours and must be compensated. Meanwhile, meal breaks must be at least 30 minutes long, and employees must be completely relieved of their work. An employer only has to compensate employees for meal breaks if the employee is not completely relieved from their work duties.

Breastfeeding Breaks in North Carolina

Although North Carolina has the right to breastfeed in public, there is no state law concerning breastfeeding at work. Hence, employers in North Carolina adhere to the FLSA’s PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act.

The Act protects nursing employees who want to express their breast milk at work. Employers must provide a reasonable break time and a separate room with privacy to allow nursing mothers to express their breast milk.

Employers who have fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from the breastfeeding break and space requirements if the provisions would cause undue hardship.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in North Carolina

In North Carolina, the Wage and Hour Act (WHA) mandates that young employees who are under 16 years of age should be given rest periods and meal breaks. If a minor employee has worked for 5 hours or more, they are entitled to a minimum of a 30-minute meal break. Moreover, minor employees can also take rest breaks that are less than 30 minutes, which are considered part of their work period and must be compensated.

Penalties for Employers in North Carolina Violating Break Laws

Employees must receive payment for breaks less than 20 minutes or for the time worked during designated meal breaks. However, if the employer fails to pay for these breaks they are accountable for wage theft. Employees in North Carolina can file a wage and hour complaint with the North Carolina Department of Labor

Learn more about North Carolina 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.