Employee Break Rights in Missouri


The Missouri Department of Labor enforces the state's wage and hour laws. Employers in Missouri do not have any maximum or minimum hour requirements. There are no hourly limits as long as they compensate them for overtime. Missouri does not require employers to provide their employees with any paid or unpaid breaks during the workday.

Missouri Break Law

  • Missouri law allows employers to adopt workplace policies allowing employees to take breaks during the workday. Employers have the ultimate discretion in deciding whether to provide their employees with paid or unpaid meal and rest breaks. However, employers that allow their employees to take rest and lunch breaks may have to compensate them, according to the United States Department of Labor. Employers must comply with the federal law if they produce at least $500,000 of gross annual profits, hire state agency employees, or engage in business in the educational or health care industries.

Federal Break Law

  • The federal Fair Labor Standards Act governs the country's wage and hour practices. Although the federal government does not require employers to provide their employees with paid or unpaid breaks, employers must compensate them if they do not meet the minimum threshold duration requirement. The Fair Labor Standards Act contains a legal requirement for covered employers to compensate their employees for breaks that do not last at least 20 minutes. Thus, employers who voluntarily allow their employees to take 15-minute rest breaks must compensate them for the entire break. However, employers who allow their employees to take 20-minute breaks do not have to compensate them for their breaks.

Missouri and Federal Lunch Break Law

  • Neither federal nor Missouri law requires employers to provide their employees with paid or unpaid meal breaks. However, the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay their employees for meal breaks that last less than 30 minutes.


  • Employers who hire children must comply with both federal and state labor laws governing the maximum hours they can work and safety standards. Missouri law does not mandate paid or unpaid lunch or rest breaks for minors. However, employers who hire children to work in the entertainment industry must provide them with at least a 30-minute meal break every five and a half hours. Entertainment industry employers must also provide children with 15-minute rest breaks for every two hours worked.


  • Since employment laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.

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