For most employers, if a shift is more than 5 hours long, workers must be allowed a minimum 30 minute meal break, no sooner than 2 hours, and no later than 5 hours into the shift.  Employers are not required to pay for the meal break if the worker is relieved of all duties.  Employees are allowed to give up their meal break, but L&I recommends that you get a written statement from the employee if you decide to allow this practice.

A paid rest break of at least 10 minutes is required for each 4 hours worked.  This break must be no later than the end of the 3rd hour of the shift.  Mini breaks (e.g. smoke or phone breaks) totaling 10 minutes are allowable.

To see Washington rules in detail, visit