Oregon Break Laws

April 11th 2024

In Oregon, both rest breaks and meal breaks are required by state law. Oregon break laws regulate the rights of employees to take rest breaks and meal breaks during their shifts. These provisions ensure fair working conditions and promote employee well-being by providing necessary rest periods.

This article discusses the key provisions of Oregon break laws. Understanding these regulations is essential for both employers and employees to ensure compliance and avoid potential legal issues.

This article covers:

Meal Breaks and Rest Breaks in Oregon

Employees working for 8 hours are entitled to the following breaks and must be free from any work responsibilities:

  • Two 10-minute paid breaks
  • One 30-minute unpaid meal break

These are the minimum break requirements under the Oregon break laws. An employer can offer longer breaks. If an employee’s work period is longer or shorter than 8 hours, the number of breaks will adjust according to the shift length.


Shift Length

Rest Breaks

Meal Breaks

2 hours or less



More than 2 hours but less than 6 hours



6 hours


More than 6 hours but less than 10 hours 2


More than 10 hours but less than 14 hours



14 hours



More than 14 hours to 18 hours



More than 18 hours but less than 22 hours



22 hours



More than 22 hours to 24 hours 6


Employees must take rest periods approximately in the middle of each 4 hours. The rest period must not be added to the meal period or deducted from the overall length of the work period.

Furthermore, at least 30 minutes of meal periods must be provided to non-exempt employees who work 6 or more hours in one work period. If the work period is less than 6 hours, no meal period is mandated. Employees who work 14 hours or more in a shift are required to receive additional meal periods.

Employees are required to be relieved of all duties during the meal period. However, under exceptional circumstances, the law allows an employee to perform duties during a meal period. When this happens, the employer must compensate the employee for the whole meal period.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Oregon

In Oregon, employees who need to express breast milk at work are protected by state law. Oregon employers are mandated to provide a reasonable rest period to express milk when needed. Furthermore, employers must make a reasonable effort to provide the following:

  • A comfortable location with privacy to express milk, the room must be other than a toilet stall and close to the employee’s workstation.
  • A refrigerator or cold storage to allow employees to store their breast milk.

However, the employer may deny breaks if the said breaks or accommodations would impose undue hardship on the company’s operations. Employers who cannot provide breaks must prove that doing so would create undue hardship.

Excessive Heat Breaks in Oregon

In May 2022, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration mandated a new provision protecting employees performing work under high heat index conditions. Under the provisions, employers are required to provide excessive heat breaks.

Employees can take heat illness prevention rest breaks concurrently with the required meal or rest periods. Moreover, if the employee takes an excessive heat break, they must be relieved of all duties.

Break Exemption in Oregon

In Oregon, there are four exceptions to meal break requirements in which employees are relieved of all duties. The exemptions are as follows:

  1. An unforeseen circumstance that caused the employers not to provide a meal period. This exemption only rarely and temporarily precludes the provision of meal breaks.
  2. Industry practice or custom has established a paid meal period of at least 30 minutes and the employees are relieved of all duties.
  3. Providing a 30-minute unpaid meal period where employees are relieved of all duties would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business.
  4. The employee is a tipped food and beverage server who has voluntarily waived their meal period under the following conditions:
  • The tipped employee is at least 18 years of age and receives and reports tips to the employer.
  • The employee voluntarily requests to waive the meal period and the request is in writing.
  • The employee has the opportunity to consume food during shifts of six hours or longer.
  • The employee is paid for any meal period in which the employee is not relieved of all duty.
  • When the employee works longer than 8 hours, a meal period must be given and they should be relieved of all duty.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Oregon

The provisions for minor employees are slightly different. Employees between the ages of 16 and 17 may be included in the meal period exceptions outlined above. Only 14- and 15-year-olds must always receive the required meal period, regardless of the nature of the job. Furthermore, the rest break requirement for all minor employees is 15 minutes rather than 10. 

Penalties for Employers in Oregon Denying Break Laws

Oregon state law provides the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI) with the authority to assess and determine civil penalties against employers. Employers in Oregon denying meal and rest periods to employees may face up to $1,000 for each violation.

Learn more about Oregon 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.