Ohio Break Laws

January 8th 2024

In Ohio, employees are protected by various break laws that ensure their rights and well-being in the workplace.

This article will provide an overview of different aspects of breaks in Ohio, such as meal breaks and rest breaks, compensation, as well as the consequences of violating such laws, outlining the rights and obligations of both employees and employers.

This article covers:


What are the Types of Breaks offered in Ohio?

In Ohio, employers are not mandated by federal or state law to offer their employees lunch breaks or rest periods during their work hours. 

However, if an employer decides to provide such breaks, they must abide by certain set regulations. 

As such, short rest breaks, which are defined as periods of time during work that last for 20 minutes or less, including brief interruptions in job duties such as bathroom breaks, must be compensated at the same hourly rate of the employee.

On the other hand, meal breaks lasting 30 minutes or more are not required to be compensated, but employees who take unpaid breaks must be relieved of all job responsibilities during that time. 

If an employee is required to clock out for their meal break, they must receive an uninterrupted 30 minutes. 

However, if they are assigned work tasks, such as assisting a customer, during their break, the break time is considered as time worked and should be compensated.

It’s worth noting that the state of Ohio obligates employers to provide breaks for underage employees. 

The law specifies that minors working continuously for 5 hours or more must receive a minimum of 30 minutes for meal or rest time.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Ohio

Federally, the United States FLSA laws mandate that employers provide nursing mothers with reasonable break time and appropriate facilities in which they can express their breast milk.

Adequate facilities that accommodate their needs should be provided, but not restrooms or toilet stalls.

Following childbirth, this right extends for up to a year.

Further, employees also have the right to take breaks specifically through the Break Time for Nursing Mothers Act of 2010. This legislation obligates employers to not only permit breaks for breastfeeding mothers but also provide a designated private space for them to express breast milk during their workday.

Compensation for Sleeping Time in Ohio

Certain occupations such as healthcare or security may require employees to work overnight shifts and to sleep during the shift.

Sleeping time is regulated by Ohio labor laws, taking guidance from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to promote adequate rest in the workplace.

According to these laws, employees who work for more than 24 hours are entitled to be paid for both sleep time and meal time, unless they have a specific agreement with their employer stating otherwise.

However, employers can only credit up to eight hours of sleep time towards non-working hours.

If an employer does not provide sufficient time for restful sleep, defined as a minimum of five consecutive hours, the employee must be compensated for that period of time.

If you want to know more about the entitlements of employees in Ohio, you can read our guides on your rights as a salaried employee in Ohio, and your rights as an hourly employee in Ohio.

Meal and Break Period Regulations for Minors in Ohio

According to Ohio law, minors must be given a 30-minute meal break if they have worked for five hours or more.

This meal break can be unpaid.

Furthermore, there are restrictions on the number of hours a minor can work in a single day and week.

During breaks from school, such as summer vacation, minors in Ohio are limited to working a maximum of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week.

On school days, minors are not permitted to work more than 3 hours per day and 18 hours per week.

These regulations aim to ensure that minors receive appropriate breaks and work within reasonable limits to balance their employment with their education and well-being.

For more information on child labor laws, visit our detailed guide on Ohio Labor Laws.

Consequences of Violating Meal and Rest Break Rules in Ohio

Employers have the discretion to deny breaks to employees, with the exception of minors under 18 years old.

However, if an employer provides a rest break or mandates work during a designated meal break, employees must be compensated for that time as part of their workday.

Failure to provide appropriate compensation during breaks may lead employees to file complaints for wage and hour violations, seeking restitution for unpaid wages.

Learn more about Ohio Labor Laws through our detailed guide.

Important Cautionary Note

When making this guide we have tried to make it accurate but we do not give any guarantee that the information provided is correct or up-to-date. We therefore strongly advise you seek advice from qualified professionals before acting on any information provided in this guide. We do not accept any liability for any damages or risks incurred for use of this guide.