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Tennessee Employment Laws about Meal Breaks and Rest Breaks

Hungry for some straight talk about meal breaks and rest periods? Wood Personnel is happy to serve it up.

Meal and break periods are covered by Tennessee Code 50-2-103(h). Here is a summary of the Tennessee employment laws:

  • Employers must provide a 30-minute unpaid rest break or meal period to employees who are scheduled to work six consecutive hours, except in workplace environments where the nature of the business provides for ample opportunity to take an appropriate break.
  • Such breaks are not to be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work.
  • Bona fide meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes) serve a different purpose than short rest or snack breaks and, thus, are generally not time for which employees must be compensated.

How are temporary workers affected by these laws?

When a Wood Personnel temporary employee works for you, the same break rules apply. If our workers are on assignment with you for six consecutive hours, you must give them a 30-minute meal period (again, not to be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work).

So what about rest breaks?

Employers are not required by TN state law to provide any other breaks.

What do federal break laws say?

If you do choose to offer short breaks (about 5 to 20 minutes) to employees, federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours.  This time should be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked.  Because they are short breaks, you have to pay employees for this time.

Make sure you take a few minutes to digest the above information.  Meal breaks are an often overlooked area of compliance for employers, and double-checking your company policies now can help prevent problems down the road.

Give your employees a break with Wood Personnel

As a leading staffing service in Middle Tennessee, Wood provides exceptional temporary and contract workers to alleviate overtime and the burnout it causes your direct staff.  So when things get busy, give your employees a break!  Contact Wood today to learn about our temporary staffing services for Hendersonville employers.