What Does Rest Breaks Mean?
Rest breaks are regularly scheduled breaks throughout the work day that allow employees to pause from their work. Rest breaks may include breaks for meals or personal time. Rest breaks can be vital in reducing accidents from fatigue.
WorkplaceTesting Explains Rest Breaks
Rest breaks allow employees to tend to their personal needs and recover from the physical and mental demands of their work tasks. Under U.S. federal law, brief rest periods (such as coffee breaks) voluntarily permitted by an employer must be counted as compensable time or hours worked. In Canada, there are no regulations for such short "coffee breaks."
A meal break of 30 minutes or more will only be considered compensable if the employee remains at his or her workstation or otherwise on duty during the meal period. Most workplaces provide fully inactive meal breaks during which the employee is relieved of duty. Local laws vary as to whether rest or meal breaks must be provided to employees and under what circumstances they must be provided.
Regardless of regulations, many employers offer paid or unpaid rest periods throughout the day in order to help maintain peak worker efficiency and safety during the work day.