The Ohio Department of Commerce sets forth the rule for breaks throughout the work day as it related to minors who are under the age of 18. Specifically, it says “No employer shall employ a minor more than 5 consecutive hours without a rest period of at least 30 minutes.” That rule applies to any employee who is younger than 18 years old.
This is essentially the only Ohio law directly related to allowing employees to take lunch, coffee, bathroom, or smoke breaks. No company or agency operating in Ohio has a legal obligation to give adult workers time off during the workday. This is a very common misconception, as most employees believe they are legally entitled to a break during the work day. In Ohio, this is not so.
Despite Ohio not mandating employers to provide breaks to employees, the majority of employers do let employees take meal and personal breaks. The absence of Ohio laws related to breaks, however, means that employers have no legal duty to schedule or provide breaks for their employees, nor must they pay wages during break periods or permit breaks at the employee’s discretion. A manager can legally tell an employee in Ohio that he or she must stay at their desk, register, or worksite, as long as that person is not under the age of 18 as defined above.
Additionally, an Ohio employer is allowed to set schedules that make employees work a full eight-hour day even if a lunch break and two personal breaks are permitted. For instance, a company or agency can make the eight-hour day shift run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. so it includes an unpaid ninth hour that accounts for a 15-minute morning break, a 30-minute lunch break, and a 15-minute afternoon break.
The employment lawyers in the Columbus, Ohio, offices of The Friedmann Firm welcome any questions related to these issues. To schedule a confidential consultation, connect with us online or call us at (614) 610-9755.