Employees in Nevada are generally entitled to one 10-minute paid rest break for about every four hours they work. However, employers are not required to provide paid rest breaks in the following situations:
- when the employer has only one employee;
- when the employee voluntarily gave up his/her right to a rest break, such as through a collective bargaining agreement; or
- when the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner relieved the employer from having to provide breaks due to the nature of the business
Employees who are being forced to work without a break or who are not getting paid breaks can seek legal relief by either:
- filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner, which will warn the employer to provide rest breaks;
- filing a Nevada wage and hour claim with Labor Commissioner, and/or
- suing for any unpaid wages or Nevada overtime pay the employee earned by not having paid rest breaks
In this article, our Las Vegas Nevada employment law attorneys discuss:
- 1. Rest break laws
- 2. Exceptions to rest break laws
- 3. Legal actions for rest breaks
In general, Nevada employers are required to provide employees a paid 10-minute rest break for every four hours (approximately) of continuous work:1
Hours of continuous work an employee performs
Number of paid breaks an employee is entitled to in Nevada
At least 3.5 hours but less than 7 hours
One 10-minute break
|At least 7 hours but less than 11 hours|| |
Two 10-minute breaks
At least 11 hours but less than 15 hours
Three 10-minute breaks
At least 15 hours but less than 19 hours
|Four 10-minute breaks|
Note that employers should try to provide breaks in the middle of each work period:
Example: Mary is a part-time receptionist who works from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Since she works four continuous hours during the week, she is entitled to a 10-minute break. But since she works only three hours on Saturdays, her employer is not required to give her any breaks that day.
So for Mary in the above example, her break during the week should ideally occur at 11 a.m., right in the middle of her four-hour shift. Also note that Mary’s break is considered paid time counted towards her hours worked, whether or not she uses the break to do any work.
Note federal law does not mandate employers to give periodic rest breaks to employees. Fortunately, employers in Nevada are required to abide by Nevada law.2
1.1. Working during rest breaks
As discussed above, rest breaks are paid time even if the employee does no work during the break. Working during a rest break does not earn the employee a double-wage or any extra money (unless the employer agrees to it).
Therefore, employees are encouraged to take advantage of all the rest breaks they are entitled to. Research shows that periodic breaks from work are necessary for one’s health and increases productivity.3
1.2. Lunch breaks
In general, employers are required to provide employees who work an eight-hour shift a meal break of 30 minutes. Unlike rest breaks, these meal breaks are unpaid.4
Learn about Nevada lunch break laws.
Nevada law does not require employers to provide rest breaks to employees in any of the following four scenarios:
- The employer has only one worker in a particular location;
- The employee agrees to forgo his/her right to a rest break;
- The employee is covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which waived rest break rights; or
- The Labor Commission exempted the employer from providing rest breaks due to “business necessity”5
Employees wrongly deprived of paid breaks are advised to consult with a Nevada labor law attorney to learn how they can remedy their situation. Scroll down to the next section for more information.
Workers who are being forced to work without breaks — or are not being paid for their breaks — should consider the following courses of action:
- Filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner,
- Attempting to reason with the employer,
- Filing a wage claim with the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner, or
- Suing in civil court for unpaid wages or overtime
Employees who are being denied rest breaks can consider filing a complaint online with the Nevada Labor Commissioner. The Commissioner would then investigate the matter and may mail the employer a warning letter explaining how the employer could face penalties for continuing to deprive workers of legally-required breaks.
Employees who are not seeking back wages and simply want their rest breaks should consider filing a complaint. As opposed to wage claims discussed below in section 3.3, employees may file complaints anonymously. Therefore, workers who do not want to risk retaliation for speaking out often turn to complaints to try to remedy workplace wrongs.6
Just because bosses are in a position of power does not mean they know everything. Some employers are genuinely unaware of Nevada’s rest break policies and their obligations.
Aggrieved employees can confront their employer or the Human Resources department about not receiving paid rest breaks. If they are reasonable, they should address the problem and make amends. If they are not, then the employee has legal options (discussed below).
Once an employee who is being denied a paid work break makes a “good faith” but ineffective effort to reason with the employer, the employee may file a claim with the Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner. The claim would be for any unpaid wages the employee is owed either for:
- working through breaks, and/or
- getting unpaid breaks
Typically, filing a claim is done online through the department’s claim for wages form. Employers can attach supporting documentation, including time sheets and pay stubs.
Once the employee submits the claim, the Labor Commissioner may then:
- investigate the matter
- hold a hearing (similar to a trial)
- issue a decision that would be binding upon the employer
It is always recommended that employees consult with an experienced labor law attorney to help them file a claim and to speak for them during the process. Having legal representation helps keep the playing field more level. Note that there is a two (2) year deadline after the non-payment of wages to file a wage claim.
The most drastic — but sometimes the most effective — option employees have is to file suit against the employer: If the employer refused to pay for work breaks, then the employee may be entitled to extra wages. Or if the employer refused to count rest breaks towards the hours worked, then the employee may be entitled to overtime pay.7
Nevada courts generally put a two (2) year limit on bringing labor dispute lawsuits. Therefore, employees should consult an attorney as soon as possible about their case to make sure they are not disqualified for being untimely.8
Whether an employee should file a lawsuit turns on the facts of the case and the ultimate goals of the employee. A labor law attorney would walk the employee through all the pros and cons of the process and would help them decide which tactic to take.
Work in California? See our article on California rest break laws.
- NRS 608.019. Periods for meals and rest.1. An employer shall not employ an employee for a continuous period of 8 hours without permitting the employee to have a meal period of at least one-half hour. No period of less than 30 minutes interrupts a continuous period of work for the purposes of this subsection.2. Every employer shall authorize and permit all his or her employees to take rest periods, which, insofar as practicable, shall be in the middle of each work period. The duration of the rest periods shall be based on the total hours worked daily at the rate of 10 minutes for each 4 hours or major fraction thereof. Rest periods need not be authorized however for employees whose total daily work time is less than 3 and one-half hours. Authorized rest periods shall be counted as hours worked, for which there shall be no deduction from wages.3. This section does not apply to:(a) Situations where only one person is employed at a particular place of employment.
(b) Employees included within the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement.
4. An employer may apply to the Labor Commissioner for an exemption from providing to all or to one or more defined categories of his or her employees one or more of the benefits conferred by this section. The Labor Commissioner may grant the exemption if the Labor Commissioner believes the employer has shown sufficient evidence that business necessity precludes providing such benefits. Any exemption so granted shall apply to members of either sex.
5. The Labor Commissioner may by regulation exempt a defined category of employers from providing to all or to one or more defined categories of their employees one or more of the benefits conferred by this section, upon the Labor Commissioner’s own motion or upon the application of an association of employers. Each such application shall be considered at a hearing and may be granted if the Labor Commissioner finds that business necessity precludes providing that particular benefit or benefits to the employees affected. Any exemption so granted shall apply to members of either sex.
- Breaks and Meal Periods, U.S. Department of Labor.
- NRS 608.019; Karen Pallarito, Why Taking a Break at Work Makes You a Better Employee, Health (September 18, 2015).
- Rules To Be Observed By Employers, Nevada Department of Labor.
- NAC 608.145; NRS 608.019.
- Complaints, Nevada Office of the Labor Commissioner.
- NRS 608.016; NRS 608.018.
- See NRS 608.260.