Texas Break Laws

March 3rd 2024

Break laws govern the rights and obligations regarding meal breaks, rest periods, and other forms of respite during the workday, ensuring fair treatment and adequate rest for workers. However, Texas has no state law concerning breaks, and employers adhere to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In this comprehensive guide, we discuss the specifics of Texas break laws, offering clarity on the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees.

This article covers:

Rest Breaks in Texas

Texas has no state law mandating employers to provide rest breaks. However, if an employer in Texas decides to offer such breaks to employees, they must adhere to the FLSA regulations.

Under federal law, employers must consider rest breaks of less than 20 minutes as compensable hours.

Meal Breaks in Texas

Meal breaks, on the other hand, must be unpaid and at least 30 minutes long. Employers must also allow the employees to be completely relieved of all their job-related obligations. During the meal period, employees must be uninterrupted and are allowed to leave the company’s premises.

Retail Breaks in Texas

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, retail employers in Texas must provide at least one rest day every 7 days to employees working more than 30 hours a week.

Breastfeeding Breaks in Texas

Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 165 has established a program committed to supporting breastfeeding employees at work. An employer must have a written and communicated lactation support policy to be qualified as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite. For employers to be qualified, the company’s policy must include the following:

  • Work schedule flexibility and break time;
  • Private, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk;
  • Access to a clean and safe water source; and
  • Access to a refrigerator or other cold storage options to safely store breast milk.

Employers may also offer extra support to nursing mothers, such as work-from-home options, onsite childcare, baby-at-work policies, or educational resources.

Break Obligations for Minor Employees in Texas

Similar to adult employees, Texas does not require employers to provide breaks to their minor employees. The employers decide to provide rest breaks and meal periods to their employees under 18 years of age. If an employer offers break entitlements to minor employees, they must adhere to the FLSA’s breaks and meal periods regulation.

Break Exemptions in Texas

Texas cities may establish their own ordinances regarding break periods. For example, in Austin, Texas, they have a city ordinance regarding working conditions at construction sites. The provision required employers to provide construction workers with a rest break of at least 10 minutes for every 4 hours worked.

Rest Day Requirements in Texas

Texas labor law has only one provision for breaks, and it is to provide employees with at least one 24-hour rest period every seven days of work. This time off must be in addition to any rest periods allowed during each work day. If an employee is asked to work more than the 40-hour work week, the exceeding worked hours must be calculated as overtime.

Moreover, state law requires employers to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs and practices unless the employer can prove that providing such may cause undue hardship. Rest day requirements do not apply to employees working part-time or less than 30 hours or less in one calendar week.

Penalties for Employers in Texas Violating Break Laws

The key to understanding Texas break laws is acknowledging that employers must pay employees for all the time they perform work. If an employer provides their employees with rest and meal breaks, the short breaks of less than 20 minutes are compensated. On the other hand, employees who work through their meal breaks must be paid.

If an employer elects these breaks and fails to do so, they have violated break laws. Employees who suspect they are victims of a violation of the break laws can file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission.

Learn more about Texas 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 to 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 from the use of this guide.