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Are Breaks Required by Law in Arizona?

Surprisingly, not many workers know their rights in Arizona when it comes to work breaks. You might be shocked to learn that you actually are not required to receive breaks, including lunch breaks, under the federal law. However, it isn’t all cut and dry.

Federal Law

Under the federal law, employers are not required to give short breaks or even meal breaks. But if an employer decides to give these short breaks, they still need to pay the employee for that time. The exception are breaks that are longer than 30 minutes (like a lunch break), then an employer doesn’t have to pay, unless the employee is still considered on the clock and helping out during their break. The good news is, this usually doesn’t stop employers from giving breaks. However, some states have their own set of laws when it comes to breaks.

State Law

Arizona is not one of the states that offers break laws to employees. This means that Arizona must abide by the federal law. This is where many residents in Arizona are confused. Under federal law, your employer doesn’t need to offer you any breaks. But keep in mind that in the state of Arizona, if you are allowed breaks, you should be getting paid for these short breaks, unless it is a break longer than 30 minutes.

Paid vs. Unpaid Breaks

There are some exceptions when it comes to getting paid during these breaks. Breaks that range from 5 to 20 minutes must always be paid. It doesn’t matter if you are still sort of working or not at all. Breaks that are longer than 30 minutes is a different story. If you are not working at all, you do not have to be paid. Keep in mind though, if you are working even just a little (for example, you are a receptionist that helps out and answers phones if needed, even during your lunch) then you must be paid for that time.

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