Labor Laws on Breaks in Maryland

Massachusetts only requires breaks for retail employees who primarily sell goods to customers face-to-face.
Massachusetts only requires breaks for retail employees who primarily sell goods to customers face-to-face. (Image: Dave Newman/iStock/Getty Images)

While Maryland labor law doesn't require most employers to provide breaks to their employees, the state does require meal breaks for retail employees working shifts longer than six hours. If a retail employer denies an employee her break, she can file a complaint. If the state finds in her favor, she may receive three times her hourly wage for each violation, while her employer may be assessed a civil fine of up to $300.

Shift Breaks for Retail Employees

State law mandates all retail employees who work from four to six hours be given a 15-minute shift break. This break should be paid, since federal law requires breaks shorter than 20 minutes to be paid.

Employees working six hours or more are entitled to a 30-minute non-working break for a meal, which is unpaid. This break may be a working break if the employee's duties prevent her from being fully relieved of duty but allow her to eat while working. The employer and employee have to agree to this ahead of time, and the employee then must be paid for that time.

If an employee is scheduled for a single shift of eight hours or more, her employer must give her a 15-minute break for each additional four hours scheduled. Maryland law has no requirements regarding when during an employee's shift her break must be scheduled.

Retail Establishments Covered

Any retail store with 50 or more employees in Maryland must comply with the shift break law. If an individual owns multiple franchises in the state, his employees are covered by the law if he has 50 or more employees in all locations combined. However, workers in a single location with five or fewer total employees are exempt.

Maryland considers a store a retail establishment for the purposes of the shift break law if 50 percent or more of its total gross revenue comes from the sale of goods to the public. However, if more than half of those sales come from online, mail or telephone sales the establishment is exempt.

Employees in Other Industries

Unless the employee is under 18, Maryland doesn't legally require meal or other breaks for any other employees. Whether non-retail workers are given breaks is up to the individual employer. In accordance with federal law, employers don't have to pay employees during breaks longer than 20 minutes if they are free to leave the workplace and don't have to do any work during that time.

Maryland requires employers to provide minors a 30-minute break for every five consecutive hours they are scheduled to work, regardless of the type of work they do.

Holidays, Days Off and Other Breaks

No state law guarantees employees in Maryland any particular holidays or days off, or special pay for working on holidays. However, retail employers must allow any workers who provide advance notice a religious day of rest off.

Maryland also has no law requiring any award of benefits to employees, including sick leave, paid holidays or vacation time.

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