Rhode Island Break Laws

April 9th 2024

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate meal or rest breaks for employees in the U.S. However, some states, including Rhode Island, require employers to provide either rest or meal breaks to employees.

The following article presents a comprehensive guide for employers and employees to meal breaks in Rhode Island.

This article covers:


Meal Breaks in Rhode Island

Employees in Rhode Island are entitled to a 20-minute unpaid meal break for working a six-hour shift and a 30-minute unpaid meal break for working an 8-hour shift.

This regulation does not include healthcare workers or companies that have less than three employees at one site during a shift. In such cases, the employee must be given a meal break, which can not be waived.

However, if an employee decides to work through a meal break and can perform their job duties while eating, they must be fairly compensated for that period.

Rest Breaks in Rhode Island

Rest breaks in Rhode Island are at the discretion of the individual employer and their company policy. However, following federal law, short breaks of 10 minutes may be offered, and these breaks should be fairly compensated.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Rhode Island

An unpaid break time of a reasonable duration may be given each day to employees who need to express breast milk or breastfeed. This break time must coincide with the break time already provided to the employee. However, if providing this time would cause undue hardship to the employer, the employer is not obligated to offer the break.

Under the FLSA’s Pump for Nursing Mothers Act, employees have the right to have access to a private non-bathroom area, that is free from intrusion by co-workers and other people. It should also have adequate facilities such as a chai, storage facility for pumped milk, running water, and electrical sockets.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Rhode Island

Minor employees in Rhode Island are entitled to the same meal break provisions as adult employees. However, minors must have an eight-hour gap between the end of one shift and the start of their next shift.

Exceptions to these entitlements are minors in the entertainment industry, as they are independent employees working under agents rather than as employees on a payroll; as well as minors working in the agricultural industry.

Learn more about Rhode Island 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.