GHENT, WV (WVNS) — The grind of a full-time, or even part-time job can be exhausting at times.

That is why all employers are federally required to provide a break to an employee as long as they worked the required amount of time.

While all employers in the nation are held to this by law, each state has their own specifics when it comes to things like the amount of work time required, the amount of time a break can be, and the amount of breaks an employee can take.

According to the West Virginia Division of Labor, employers are required to give their employees at least a 20-minute break if the employee worked a minimum of six hours.

Chapter 21, Article 3 of the West Virginia Code states the following:

During the course of a workday of six or more hours, all employers shall make available at least twenty minutes for meal breaks, at times reasonably designated by the employer.  This provision shall be required in all situations where employees are not afforded necessary breaks and/or permitted to eat while working.

WV Division of Labor | Chapter 21, Article 3

The WV Division of Labor also provides a fact sheet into the employee break requirement. The fact sheet showed that the time of shift when the break is taken is up to the employer, not the employee. The sheet stated, “The break may be given at any time throughout the employee’s
work day at a time deemed reasonable by the employer”.

Another note in the fact sheet stated the break time will not increase as shift time increases. According to the sheet, it does not matter whether someone works six hours, eight hours, or 12 hours, the break time will remain at 20 minutes as this is the only time requirement in place for employers. The 20-minutes can be broken up into smaller increments if necessary.

Of course, there are exceptions that can be made. The 20-minute meal break requirement does not apply if the employee is already being given a lunch/rest break, mor if the employee is allowed necessary bathroom breaks and is allowed to eat while working.

According to the WV Division of Labor, “When considering whether a meal break or lunch period is to be paid or unpaid, the employer must consider the amount of time the employee is relieved from duty and the purpose for the break.”

Whether you are a teenager getting your first job or someone switching careers, it is important to know all of your rights within the workplace.