Labor Laws – Federal and By State

Employment and Labor Laws

There are just over 300,000,000 million folks living in 50 states across America. If the unemployment rate is hovering around 9% and you factor in minors, you’re still dealing with well over 200,000,000 people who are working in some kind of job. Other than the self-employed, most of these working folks have labor laws that directly impact their employment. You might not be aware of all the specific codes and regulations that pertain to your job, but it is the responsibility of every legislature to develop their own state’s labor laws.

Every job site is required by law to post labor laws. After that, it becomes the responsibility of the worker to read and understand which laws apply to them. The following links provide a quick snapshot of all of the state labor laws. Is your site up to code? Is your boss breaking the law? Find out now.

Federal employment laws regulate hiring, hours, pay, and salaries, as well as discrimination, harassment, paid time off, employee benefits, and other crucial workplace and employee rights problems.

Federal Labor Laws – Breaks

Federal law provides that if a company decides to permit break times, any breaks under 20 minutes should be compensated, and any breaks beyond 30 minutes can be unpaid and considered off-the-clock, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Companies are not, however,  required by federal law to provide breaks for eating or other purposes during working hours.

Thus, the federal government essentially leaves it up to the employer. Meal breaks longer than 30 minutes are not paid, while rest intervals under 20 minutes are. These federal requirements automatically apply if a state does not have its own clear regulations addressing breaks.

State break laws – Each state is free to decide on its own lunch and rest break regulations. While some states automatically follow federal policy, others have their own unique set of rules to adhere to. Laws governing meals and rest periods only apply to non-exempt workers. Breaks are at the employer’s discretion for exempt workers making more than $23,000 annually.

Wages and Overtime Labor Laws

When you are hired for a job, you should be abundantly clear about what is expected of you. Obviously, that includes your salary. If you are hired at an hourly rate for a particular amount of time each day then going over that amount constitutes overtime. What are you entitled to with regard to overtime pay? What is the minimum wage for an hour’s work in your state? If you are working part-time are you still entitled to overtime pay? It is better if you know the wage and overtime laws before accepting a job and especially before getting your first paycheck.

Maternity Leave Labor Laws

It’s a sad state of affairs that the government had to step in to regulate maternity leave laws. These laws were established to secure your job while providing a specific amount of time allowing you to take care of the newest member of the family. Did you know these laws extend to both moms and dads? They also can apply to newly adopted children or children who are coming to live with you in a resolution of a child custody case.

Your employee could offer extended maternity leave benefits, but there is a specific minimum amount of time you are allowed to take with the guarantee that your job will be waiting for you when you return. That will definitely take some of the pressure off of having a baby!

Minor Labor Laws

There was a time in our nation’s history when children as young as 10 years old were hired to work in deplorable conditions. Fortunately, those days are long gone for Americans. However, that doesn’t mean a young person can’t get a job. The cutoff for a child working is 12 years old. However, there are exemptions for work on the family farm. But even mom and dad have to be aware of the various child labor laws when it comes to the amount of work and time of day a child can be employed.

There are some states that require work permits for minors under the age of 18. Most states also have restrictions with regard to different environments in that minors can be employed. For instance, most minors are restricted from working at any job where selling liquor is the primary function of the business.


State Employment Laws

Nearly every US state has labor rules that apply to companies that have employees there.

Alabama Labor Laws

Alabama Maternity Leave By federal law Alabama allows new mothers to take twelve weeks of unpaid maternity leave without the risk of losing a job. Maternity leave protects a woman’s…

Alaska Labor Laws

Alaska Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for employees above the age of 18, Alaska falls back on federal law. If an employer decides to offer a break, it must…

Arizona Labor Laws

Arizona Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for all employees, Arizona abides by federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid…

Arkansas Labor Laws

Arkansas Maternity Leave Laws Maternity leave in Arkansas is also known as family leave. Employees are allowed to have twelve consecutive weeks of unpaid leave every year. This leave is…

California Labor Laws

California Labor Law Breaks Whenever a shift lasts more than five hours straight, workers are entitled to a 30-minute paid meal break. The break is not compensated if the employee…

Colorado Labor Laws

Colorado Labor Law Breaks The state of Colorado is one of nineteen other states to possess its own Meal Break laws. Because Colorado has its own state laws for workers,…

Connecticut Labor Laws

Connecticut Labor Law Breaks Non-exempt personnel who put in at least 7.5 hours will receive 30 minutes. Employers are only excused from this obligation under these circumstances: Compliance puts public…

Delaware Labor Laws

Delaware Labor Law Breaks The United States does not have any federal laws in regard to required mealtime breaks. Because of this thirty-one states do not have required breaks for…

Florida Labor Laws

Florida Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for workers who are 18 years of age or older, Florida falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes…

Georgia Labor Laws

Georgia Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for all employees, Georgia adheres to federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid…

Hawaii Labor Laws

Hawaii Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for workers 16 years of age and older, Hawaii falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must…

Idaho Labor Laws

Idaho Labor Law Breaks The state of Idaho does not have Meal Break Laws. Employers are thus not required to provide paid or unpaid meal breaks at any point during…

Illinois Labor Laws

Illinois Labor Law Breaks The state of Illinois, unlike many other states, allows its employed citizens the right to have meal breaks of at least thirty minutes every seven and one-half…

Indiana Labor Laws

Indiana Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for workers aged 18 and over, Indiana falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break…

Iowa Labor Laws

Iowa Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for workers 16 years of age and older, Iowa falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must…

Kansas Labor Laws

Kansas Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for all employees, Kansas falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid if…

Kentucky Labor Laws

Kentucky Labor Law Breaks Rather than use federal laws to regulate meal breaks, Kentucky has its own state laws in regard to meal breaks. These meal laws require that employees…

Louisiana Labor Laws

Louisiana Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for workers 18 years of age and older, Louisiana falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must…

Maine Labor Laws

Maine Labor Law Breaks Unlike most other states, Maine has its own laws for how meal breaks are to be handled. Most states use federal laws in regard to meal…

Maryland Labor Laws

Maryland Labor Law Breaks Only employees in the retail sector receive 15 minutes for shifts lasting 4 to 6 hours, 30 minutes for those lasting 6 to 8 hours, and…

Maryland Labor Laws

Maryland Labor Law Breaks Only employees in the retail sector receive 15 minutes for shifts lasting 4 to 6 hours, 30 minutes for those lasting 6 to 8 hours, and…

Massachusetts Labor Laws

Massachusetts Labor Law Breaks For each 4-hour shift performed, employees are entitled to at least a 10-minute paid break from their employer, per Massachusetts labor rules. According to Massachusetts labor…

Michigan Labor Laws

Michigan Labor Law Breaks While Michigan has standards detailing the meal and/or lunch breaks that must be offered to workers, it does not require that additional, shorter break times be…

Minnesota Labor Laws

Minnesota Labor Law Breaks All Minnesota employees have a right to a reasonable amount of rest for each consecutive four-hour shift they perform, as stated by statute 177.253. This means…

Minnesota Labor Laws

Minnesota Holiday Laws Despite popular belief no federal law states that employees be required to have holidays off from work. Employers are also not required to allow employees to be…

Mississippi Labor Laws

Mississippi Labor Law Breaks In Mississippi, employers are not compelled by law to give their staff members a lunch or a break. Employers have the option of providing both meal…

Missouri Labor Laws

Missouri Labor Law Breaks Breaks are fully up to the employer under Missouri labor laws, although the employee is free to try to negotiate as much as feasible and is…

Montana Labor Laws

Montana Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for all workers, Montana abides by federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be…

Nebraska Labor Laws

Nebraska Labor Law Breaks Nebraska mandates that each 8-hour shift must include a half-hour lunch break taken off-site. Assembly plants, workshops, and mechanical facilities must comply with Nebraska’s meal break…

Nevada Labor Laws

Nevada Labor Law Breaks According to Nevada labor rules, if an employee works a continuous eight-hour shift, they must be given a meal break that lasts at least thirty minutes….

New Hampshire Labor Laws

New Hampshire Labor Law Breaks You are not entitled to paid breaks in New Hampshire. Although many workers have a meal and rest breaks throughout the day, these breaks are…

New Jersey Labor Laws

New Jersey Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for workers who are 18 years of age and older, New Jersey falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than…

New Mexico Labor Laws

Labor laws in New Mexico tend to favor the business over the individual. There are no laws that require an employer to give any kind of break (coffee, lunch, or…

New York Labor Laws

New York Labor Law Breaks The state of New York is one of eleven states that require employers to provide meal breaks during an eight-hour shift. These meal breaks are…

North Carolina Labor Laws

North Carolina Labor Law Breaks With regard to breaks for workers 16 and older, North Carolina falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must…

North Dakota Labor Laws

North Dakota Labor Law Breaks Employers in North Dakota are required by law to give employees a 30-minute unpaid meal break when they are scheduled to work longer than five…

Ohio Labor Laws

Ohio Labor Law Breaks For breaks for workers 18 years of age and older, Ohio falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a…

Oklahoma Labor Laws

Oklahoma Labor Law Breaks Regarding rest periods for workers 16 years of age and older, Oklahoma falls back on federal law. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must…

Oregon Labor Laws

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, or BOLI, governs all labor laws in the state. BOLI works to protect the rights of workers, ensure non-discriminatory treatment and enforce compliance…

Pennsylvania Labor Laws

Pennsylvania Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for workers 18 and older, Pennsylvania falls back on federal legislation. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be…

Rhode Island Labor Laws

Rhode Island Labor Law Breaks According to Rhode Island labor law, businesses must give workers a 20-minute break for lunch during a six-hour shift and a 30-minute break for lunch…

South Dakota Labor Laws

South Dakota Labor Law Breaks With regard to breaks for all employees, South Dakota abides under federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a…

Tennessee Labor Laws

Tennessee Labor Law – Meal Breaks Neither United States law nor Tennessee state law requires employers to provide individuals with meal breaks. Companies and businesses can legally require that employees…

Texas Labor Laws

Texas Labor Law Breaks Regarding breaks for all employees, Texas adheres to federal law by default. Only if it lasts less than 20 minutes must a meal break be paid…

Utah Labor Laws

Utah is a beautiful state to live and work in. When it comes to work there are two agencies that oversee labor laws. The Department of Workforce Services handles government…

Vermont Labor Laws

Although anyone who has spent time in Vermont will tell you it’s a gorgeous state, the best time of the year to visit is in the fall. This is when…

Virginia Labor Laws

A famous slogan once used to promote tourism in Virginia was “Virginia is for lovers.” This slogan popped up on T-shirts and bumper stickers. Virginia is also for presidents by…

Washington DC Labor Laws

DC Employment Wages Despite the District of Columbia not being a state, it still has many “state” laws that it uses outside of federal laws. Some of these laws include…

Washington Labor Laws

Washington or the state of Washington, as it is often called to avoid confusion with Washington D.C., is in the Northwest region of the United States. Over 60% of the…

West Virginia Labor Laws

Of all the states in America, West Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state to secede from its Confederate counterpart. As the Civil War was escalating, delegates from…

Wisconsin Labor Laws

Wisconsin is to cheese what Texas is to oil. In fact, Wisconsin leads the nation in cheese production. That is why the locals happily wear their “cheese-head hats” to show…

Wyoming Labor Laws

The state of Wyoming is easy to pick out on a map: it’s the perfect square situated in the Midwest (above the perfect square of Colorado!). Close to half of…

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The main labor law that affects all businesses is called the FLSA. Making certain that employees are compensated fairly is its fundamental tenet. According to their exempt or nonexempt status, you must by law pay overtime to specific employees.

For all hours over 40 worked in a week, overtime compensation is determined at the federal level as 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate. The FLSA also establishes a federal minimum wage requirement, with a few exceptions for the railroad, agricultural, and educational sectors. Many states and towns mandate higher minimum wages or more generous overtime compensation for employers.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

An eligible employee may request unpaid, job-protected leave from their employer for the birth or adoption of a child, the serious sickness of a spouse, child, or parent, or both under the terms and conditions of the FMLA, a federal labor legislation.

You must safeguard an employee’s job while they are out on leave for up to 12 weeks under the FMLA. The same protection is granted for up to 26 weeks to military service personnel who are injured, ill, or whose family members are providing for them. Any firm with 50 or more workers is required to offer FMLA. However, in some jurisdictions, firms with as few as five full-time employees may be subject to more stringent family leave regulations.

Only workers with a year of experience are qualified for FMLA, and there is normally an application procedure and regulation that must be followed. For instance, you can refuse a request for FMLA leave if your three-month-old new recruit asks for six weeks off for knee surgery that is not related to work.