Employees FAQ 8

Must municipal employees be allowed meal or rest breaks during a work shift?

The state recommends, but does not require, that employers allow adult employees a minimum 30-minute duty-free meal period reasonably close to the usual mealtimes or near the middle of a shift. However, meal periods are mandatory for minors. See Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 274.02(2).

Employers must pay employees for any on-duty meal period. On-duty meal periods include meal periods where the employer does not provide at least 30 minutes of work-free time or any meal period where the employee is not free to leave the employer’s premises. Wis. Admin. Code. § DWD 274.03.

State law does not require that brief rest periods, or coffee breaks, be provided to employees. Such matters are to be determined between the employer and the employee. However, rest periods of less than 30 consecutive minutes are considered work time and must be compensated. Wis. Admin. Code. § DWD 272.12(2)(c)1. (rev. 4/22)