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Meal and Break Rules in Washington

Filed under Managing the Workplace. Fact checked on June 2, 2012.

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Employers in Washington must comply with these state rules relating to meals and break times.

Washington has separate requirements for meal and rest periods.

Meal Period Requirements

Employees in Washington must be allowed a meal period of at least 30 minutes commencing at least two hours but no more than five hours from the beginning of a shift.

Meal periods must be paid working time when the employee is required by the employer to remain on duty on the premises or at a prescribed work site in the interest of the employer.

No employee may be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period.

Employees working three or more hours longer than a normal workday must be allowed at least one, 30-minute meal period prior to or during the overtime period.

Rest Period Requirements

Employees must be allowed a paid rest period of at least 10 minutes for each four hours of working time. Rest periods must be scheduled as near as possible to the midpoint of the work period.

No employee may be required to work more than three hours without a rest period.

Where the nature of the work allows employees to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to 10 minutes for each four hours worked, scheduled rest periods are not required.

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