Mississippi State Labor Laws on Required Work Hours for Breaks & Lunch Hours

by Jill Stimson J.D.; Updated September 26, 2017

In Mississippi, employers are not required to provide their employees with meal or rest breaks. In the absence of state laws, Mississippi employers must comply with any federal regulations. The federal Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor does not require employers to provide their employees with rest and meal breaks during the day. However, employers can provide discretionary breaks to their employees, and if they do so, they may have to pay them for their breaks.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act establishes the wage and hour practices for covered employers. Covered employers, according to the act, are state and local government employers, federal employers, labor unions and most private employers. The act covers private employers who transact interstate business or gross $500,000 or more of annual profits. Furthermore, the act covers health care facilities and schools.

Federal Law

Federal law does not require employers to provide their employees with rest breaks or lunch periods. As such, employers are not required to provide breaks or meal periods to their employees unless their states require them. In Mississippi, the Department of Employment Security administers the state's labor laws. Mississippi does not have any separate wage and hour requirements for employers other than what is required by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor.

Break Requirements

Under federal law, although covered employers are not required to provide their employees with meal periods or rest breaks, they can allow their employees to take them. If employers allow their employees to take lunch or rest breaks, they may be required to pay them for their breaks, and their breaks may count as hours worked for overtime purposes.

Discretionary Breaks

The Fair Labor Standards Act allows employers to provide discretionary meal periods or rest breaks to their employees. If they do, they must pay them for their breaks if they last less than 20 minutes. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are not required to pay their employees for their breaks if they do not require them to work through their breaks and give them at least 20 minutes to exercise their rest breaks. Furthermore, employers do not have to pay employees for their meal periods if they give them at least 30 minutes to eat and totally relieve them from their work duties.

Exceptions

Mississippi employers are not required to provide their employees with rest or meal breaks, but they must comply with federal law if covered. However, the federal labor laws may not cover smaller private employers and non-governmental employers. As such, some employers do not have to comply with the federal wage and hour laws.

About the Author

Jill Stimson has worked in various property management positions in Maryland and Delaware. Stimson worked for the top three property management companies in the commercial industry and focuses her career on property building logistics and tenant relationships. She holds a Juris Doctor and a Bachelor of Science in psychology.