Do I Need to Provide Lunch Breaks and Morning and Afternoon Breaks to My Full-time Employees?

Employers often believe employees are legally entitled to more break time than Minnesota law actually requires. Typically it is a mistaken belief that full-time employees are entitled to 15-minute breaks in the morning and afternoon and at least a 30-minute break for lunch (likely fostered by union shops which often bargain for such perks and the prevalence of this sort of break structure at the public agency level).

For most full-time employees, Minnesota state law requires only that employees be allowed – (1) “adequate” time to use the “nearest convenient restroom” once during a consecutive four hour shift and (2) “sufficient” time to eat a meal. So, for employers providing 15-minute morning and afternoon breaks and 30 or 60-minute meal breaks while it might be appropriate and necessary to foster employee morale and efficiency given the low threshold required by state law, it is additionally generous.


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