In order to ensure that you are getting paid the correct amount and tabulating your hourly timesheets correctly, it is necessary to understand the break laws in Texas. Different states may have different laws surrounding lunch periods and mandatory breaks, but it is important to understand that Texas does not.

In fact, according to the State of Texas, Texas does not have a lunch break requirement and thus it defaults to federal law, and federal law does not contain a lunch break requirement.

What is a lunch break?

Even though there is no mandatory lunch break in Texas, there is a defined “lunch break.” They are unpaid, and must be at least 30 minutes and specifically for the purpose of eating a meal. While the lunch break is unpaid, the employee must be doing no work at all during this time. If the employee is engaging in work-related activities during the lunch break, he or she must be paid for this time. An example of engaging in work-related activities during a lunch break would be answering emails while eating, or taking phone calls.

What other kinds of breaks are there?

Under the health care reform in 2010, women must be permitted the opportunity for breast-pumping breaks during the first year after the birth of a child, even though these are unpaid. A “coffee break” or “rest break” (very rarely referred to as a “smoking break”) is less than 20 minutes and is paid under law. This is because a “coffee break” is seen as a tool to ultimately increase the productivity of the worker and thus benefit the employer.