Neither Maryland state or United States federal laws require employers to provide breaks for most employees—including breaks for meals. The employment law attorneys at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger, P.A. have provided this information to help you understand Maryland employee break laws.
Do Employers Have to Provide Breaks?
It may surprise most people that, unlike some other states, Maryland employers are not required by law to provide breaks throughout the work day with certain exceptions for minors under the age of 18. However, some employers choose to allow break periods for rest or lunch, as research has shown that productivity improves when employees have the chance to take small breaks.
Should Employees Be Paid During Breaks?
Under federal law, if an employer chooses to permit breaks that are less than twenty minutes in duration, they are obligated under federal law to pay employees for that time. Additionally, if an employer or a company mandates a meal break during a work day, but an employee works through that period, they are required to pay the employee for that time.
On the other hand, employers do not have to pay for lunch breaks, lasting more than 20 minutes, in which an employee is not performing work related duties.
Are There Additional Regulations for Employee Breaks?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has outlined guidance regarding the necessity for breaks in certain occupations. Labor intensive, dangerous and extended shift jobs all pose risks to employees if they are not provided with time to rest. OSHA outlines that employers within these types of industries, such as construction, need to be mindful that fatigue increases the likelihood of error and potential for injury on the job. OSHA recommends further that employees who are working in high heat jobs should be allowed breaks for water and rest.
On a broader scale, OSHA requires that all employers give employees reasonable opportunity for bathroom breaks throughout the course of the work day.
The lawyers at Snee, Lutche , Helmlinger & Spielberger, P.A. work with employers and employees to prevent and solve employment problems. Our attorneys have advised management in all types of employment disputes. Contact us for more information about Maryland employment.