Adult workers in Wisconsin do not have a right to rest or meal breaks, but there are rules about when you have to be paid if you get breaks.

Workers younger than 18 years old have a right to a 30-meal break during 6 hours of work. The break should be in the middle of the shift or at a regular meal time.

Workers for manufacturers, mechanical companies, and stores have a right to seats when not actively working.

Although adult workers do not have a right to rest or meal breaks, there is law that recommends a meal break halfway through 6 hours of work. If you are wondering what the point of a law is that only recommends protecting workers, ask your state legislator.

If you are represented by a union, you may have more rights under your union contract. Read your contract and talk to a shop steward or representative.

All Wisconsin workers must be paid for breaks if:

  • the break is shorter than 30 minutes;
  • you are not free from work or there are interruptions;
  • you cannot leave your work site.
What is the law:

Meal Breaks: Wisconsin Administrative Code Chapter DWD 274.02 (2) and (3)

Seats for Workers Law: Wisconsin Statute 103.16

Who enforces the law: Wisconsin Department for Workforce Development Equal Rights Division

Fill out the complaint form (if your boss is breaking the breaks for workers under 18 or the seats law), linked in the Resource Box on this page.