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Break time matters – what you need to know

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Wage & Hour Laws

Work breaks should be part of your workday, ensuring your well-being and productivity.

Knowing your rights regarding meal and rest breaks empowers you to make the most of your work environment.

Navigating breaks in your workday

The One Day Rest In Seven Act requires employers to provide both meal and restroom breaks for employees. The specific timing might vary based on the nature of your job. Communicate with your supervisor or manager to ensure they schedule breaks that align with your work tasks and responsibilities.

Enjoying meal breaks

Meal breaks give you the opportunity to recharge and refuel during your work hours. In Illinois, if you work for a period of 7.5 hours or more in a day, your employer must provide you with an unpaid meal break of at least 20 minutes, and they must provide this break no later than five hours after your shift starts. If your shift is more than 12 hours, you must receive a second meal break.

Relaxing during rest breaks

Rest breaks are shorter breaks designed to help you reenergize throughout your workday. In Illinois, if you work for a continuous period of 4 hours, your employer must provide you with a paid rest break of at least 10 minutes. This break gives you a moment to stretch, take a quick walk, use the restroom or clear your mind. Your employer should ensure that you have a suitable space to take your rest break comfortably.

Work breaks in Illinois are more than just a legal requirement; they help maintain your health and productivity. Knowing these regulations, you can confidently advocate for your breaks without feeling nervous or hesitant. If you find that your employer consistently denies you the breaks you are entitled to, consider discussing the matter with your human resources department to find a suitable solution.