While many states rely solely on the federal rules dictating employee breaks, Minnesota has its own state laws that go above and beyond federal law to provide workers with more opportunities for rest during their workdays. While it may not seem like much, it is more protection than many other states offer their workers.
According to the United States Department of Labor, employers are not legally required to provide their employees with breaks of any kind. However, if businesses choose to provide their workers with breaks, the employees must be paid for that time if the breaks last no more than 20 minutes in the normal course of business throughout the day. If employee breaks last longer than 20 minutes, employers are no longer obligated to pay their employees for that time. This includes time set apart for meals.
Minnesota builds upon these federal laws for the benefit of workers in the state. According to the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry, employers are legally mandated to provide each of their employees with time to use the restroom and enough time to comfortably eat a meal, depending on the length of their shifts. Opportunities to use the restroom must be given to employees at least once for each four consecutive hours employees are on the job. Employers must also provide a mealtime break only for those employees who work an eight hour shift or more. Similarly to federal rules, if the restroom or mealtime break is less than 20 minutes, the employee must be compensated for that time.