Breaks, Overtime, and More: What Are Your Rights When Working Longer Shifts?


In some industries, working long shifts is standard for workers. In other industries, workers may be asked to work extra hours under special circumstances. Or, a worker may choose to work a longer shift to finish a project.

Regardless of the reason you worked a longer shift, you are entitled to certain rights when you are on the clock for extra hours. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state laws establish regulations for breaks, time between shifts, overtime, and other concerns that are relevant to employees who work long shifts.

Rest Breaks and Time Between Shifts

Although allowing a lunch break is a standard at most jobs, it is actually not required by federal law. There is nothing in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that orders employers to let their workers take lunch breaks or shorter breaks. However, the federal law does state that employees must be paid for the time spent on a short break, generally anything under 30 minutes. Breaks that are longer than 30 minutes, such as a standard lunch break, do not have to be paid and are considered more as a true break between work hours.

Some states have their own laws concerning breaks that differ from the federal regulations. There are state laws that differ from the statutes established by FLSA, and many states do have laws that require employers to allow their workers to take lunch breaks and other times to rest during their shift. Tennessee is one of these states. The state law requires that employers allow lunch breaks, although the breaks do not have to be paid. Tennessee does not require employers to provide any breaks that are shorter than a lunch break. In the state of Tennessee, there is also no law that requires employers to allow a certain amount of time between shifts.

Overtime Pay

As an employee, you are entitled to overtime pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a week. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay 1.5 times an employee’s typical hourly wage for any time that qualifies as overtime pay. Tennessee law adheres to the overtime regulations established in the FLSA.

The legal team of Donati Law, PLLC can represent you if you have a wage and hour violation claim against your employer. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case.

To schedule a free consultation with our lawyers, complete our contact form or call (901) 209-5500.

Every Client is a Cause We Believe In

To discuss your case with an accomplished attorney who cares, give our firm a call at (901) 209-5500 or fill out the form below.

  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
    Please enter your email.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.