Washington state requires paid work breaks to be provided to workers. Regular workers, minors under 18, agricultural workers and healthcare workers have different break requirements.
Workers not covered by other rules must be given a minimum of 10 minutes paid and free of duties for every four hours worked.
Employees can't be forced to work more than three hours without a break; breaks must be planned as close to the midpoint of each work period as possible, and the rest breaks count toward hours worked for paid sick leave accumulation and overtime.
In some cases, smaller breaks can be taken more frequently as long as they add up to at least 10 minutes every four hours.
Required breaks for healthcare workers vary by job duties and type of facility. There are also allowances for emergencies and certain other situations that are unique to healthcare.
Agricultural workers must be provided a minimum of 10 minutes paid and free of duties for every four hours worked.
Meal periods of at least 30 minutes must be provided anytime that more than five hours in a day are worked. If the meal break is interrupted or any work is required during the break, it must be paid. Even if the meal break is paid due to interruptions, the employee must be given at least 30 minutes of break time, excluding interruptions, and the meal break must be paid regardless of how many disruptions occur.
The state sets payment calculation methods for paid breaks of those on per-piece rates.
Restroom access may not be restricted to break times.
Those under 16 must receive paid breaks of at least 10 minutes for every two hours worked and a rest period after every two hours worked. Breaks may not be added together later in the shift to provide longer uninterrupted work. Further, minors can not work longer than four hours without being given a separate meal break (in addition to other breaks).
Those over 16 must be given at least 30 minutes as a meal break when they work more than five hours in a day. A minimum of one 10-minute paid rest break must be provided for every four hours worked, and minors must be allowed to take the rest period no later than the end of their third hour of work.